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Busting the top myths that plague the ideas of sustainability

by DrPrem Jagyasi

UN Global Compact CEO Study conducted on business leaders from around the world found that many of them did not consider sustainability necessary for achieving their business goals. Millions of people have not been able to grasp the concept of sustainability completely.

Vague understanding of sustainability has created some unfortunate myths regarding this practice. If not busted, these myths can take deep roots into our psyche and prevent chances of proactive, sustainable growth. Some of the toughest myths regarding sustainable practices have been countered with logic in the following.

Sustainability is just another trend

growth in business

Sustainability is not a trend or fad that will die soon. It is now an important part of life may we recognize it or not. If business and personal practices are not sustainable then they will have catastrophic effect on human civilization. American Institute of Architects had implemented a policy of reducing usage of fossil fuels by 50% in all the buildings they construct in the year 2005.

Since then, they have only upgraded that policy to make their practices more sustainable and eco-friendly. The costs of sustainable construction have gone down which has encouraged other construction companies and associations to adapt sustainable policies.

What is sustainability? No one seems to know!

Businessman holding green seedling with soil

The definition and meaning of sustainability seems to be the biggest myth around it as most people can only give vague answers. Well, sustainability is fulfilling our regular needs in such a manner that our future generations also get sufficient resources to fulfill their needs. If business practices or industrial growth are not sustainable then they cannot offer long term profit or benefits.

Adopting sustainable practices is necessary for the stability of our civilization. Even in personal life we can adapt sustainable practices. The attempt of reducing water and energy wastage is also sustainable practice. Sustainable practices take into account greater good and ensure better opportunities for everyone.

All businesses can be sustainable

Team having a meeting about recycling policy

This myth stems from the belief that sustainability is synonymous to profitability. Profitable businesses may not be sustainable but sustainable businesses are usually profitable, especially in the long term.

Tobacco, oil and gas firms are legal but as the products they are selling and their general business practices are not aimed at sustainability, their business model is not sustainable. Such businesses are only profitable. But, if tobacco companies start manufacturing e-cigarettes and oil companies focus more on renewable or alternative energies, then they will become more sustainable.

Sustainability is expensive

Fan of One Dollar Bills

Sustainability is not an additional cost which will be a burden on your business practices. It will rather help in the growth of your business. Adapting and implementing sustainable practices can be difficult in the beginning and it requires good deal of planning. Once the system is in place the rest of the operations will be smooth.

Even at the biggest companies that have adapted sustainable practices, there are no more than 4-5 employees in the sustainability department. These groups keep in touch with management and other employees for formulating sustainable strategies for positive business growth and expansion.

Sustainability equals to social responsibility

Figurines Of Two Businessmen Shaking Hands On A Line Graph

For the overall development of our economy, every successful business house should undertake some social responsibilities. Unfortunately, many businesses make the mistake of looking at sustainability as their social responsibility. Well, sustainable business practices can help in the development of your nation and people, but it also benefits your business. Sustainability should be a part of your business plans and strategies or else your business model will not be stable.

Sustainability is not a fad. It is a practice which should drive all your business strategies. Sustainability is also not costly if implemented intelligently.