When we talk of environmental sustainability we basically mean a system of life where we are able to maintain our environment without having to compromise with the resources of future generations and yet still manage to meet our own needs. Sustainability rests on the belief that we can coexist with the environment if we work to ensure our actions are not harmful to it. Essentially, it means ensuring that we leave our environment no worse than we found it (and if possible, better). Profitability brings about economic growth to our society and many businesses are intent on making profit that they end up misusing the environment forgetting that the environment also plays a big role in bringing about economic growth. Profitability and environmental sustainability definitely can co-exist. “Can you imagine a world where the environment is completely destroyed,” then what would be the point of making profits if there are no resources to maintain our lives or a world where you have the resources but doing nothing with them.
All these issues are important, none is above the other but both are still important to our society. In terms of ethics, it is about the choices we make and also the future we build and not only the present. Today’s challenge to business leadership is ensuring profitability while doing the right thing using environmentally sustainable methods. It is possible for businesses to make a profit and still sustain the environment. Similarly businesses view sustaining the environment as a barrier to profitability. They are viewed as necessary evils, costs to be minimized, or regulations with which to comply.
The Bank of America proved that it’s possible to make profit and still sustain the environment. According to their website, they reduced their use of paper by 32% in the year 2001 to 2005 and still managed to grow by 24%. From this it is clear that profitability and environmental sustainability can surely co-exist. Many companies are nowadays recycling products as a way of sustaining the environment. Resources such as paper can be recycled thus preventing and saving many trees from being cut down. It is not just paper that can be recycled but also glass, plastic, metal and aluminum as well. This will not only ensure environmental sustainability but will also save on costs of having to acquire other resources.
Also profitability and environmental sustainability can co-exist by using materials that are durable such as washable utensils to keep disposable dishes from being thrown away thus increasing trash on the streets. Also bathrooms should be low-flow to reduce water use as well as using energy saving equipment. From this it’s clear that you are not only sustaining the environment but also a lot of money will be saved. Furthermore, customers will appreciate the efforts and thus be attracted toward the business therefore contributing to more profit.
Environmental Sustainability & Business Ethics/eHow.com