Business and society, in the past year have been faced with multiple challenges: the coronavirus pandemic which has triggered a wider economic crisis; and a deeper, longer-term sustainability crisis caused by pollution, resource depletion, burgeoning global population, and unsustainable production and consumption. These crises intensify what was already an emerging debate about the purpose and benefits of sustainable value in business.
Values are increasingly becoming the focus of public discussion, yet their role in our lives and their importance for our wellbeing are not always fully understood. Values are what we consider excellent, useful, or desirable, they are what we praise and hold in high esteem. They are a fundamental part of how we define ourselves, our culture and our society. They are generally enshrined in our conception of the world, our definition of a human being, our ideology. As a result, they are often unconscious and unquestioned.
With 2021 finally here, now is the time to lay the foundation for a successful year –– sustainable values. If there’s anything we’ve learned in 2020, it’s that there’s no predicting what might unfold with a new year. We can, however, set ourselves up to be more equipped, adaptable and resilient. The path forward into the new year for any individual, group, or organization should be prioritized around nurturing and sustaining a vibrant and strong internal culture to fuel the health, well-being, and productivity of your people. This investment will pay even more dividends in 2021 and years beyond.
Happy New Year.
ALIYU ALIYU, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
WITH EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE
The success of economic growth is dependent on a healthy and stable society. In an age when information is shared almost instantly, corporate supply chains and their effect on the local populous, no matter where in the world, is constantly being assessed for social license. Within an organization, the social side includes contributing to employee health and well-being, value flowing back through improved productivity.
The current placing of sustainability is supported by the strategic shift in the way organizations’ performance is evaluated. Profit with purpose is set to become the new norm as leaders, today are giving a new, more profound meaning to the word ‘Sustainable Value’, regarding it not just as the profitable or right thing to do, but an essential component of growth.
After a year of uncertainty, chaos, and social unrest, how companies function internally not only has a profound impact on employees and corporate reputations, but it directly affects organizational growth, society, and influences every aspect of business. Despite the great unknowns, there’s one critical action that should guide every leader’s vision in the new year: prioritizing internal culture.
While many businesses have designed and implemented all kinds of operational efficiency measures and have saved money doing it, the pathway to capturing more sustainable value from sustainability is still not widely understood or pursued. The opportunity cost of stopping at operational efficiency can be significant because diving more deeply into Sustainable Value opportunities almost always translates to higher beneficial impact on business performance.
in sustainability often leads to redesigning more socially and environmentally responsible products and services. This focus inevitably brings new business opportunities. Nike, for instance, embedded sustainable values into its product design process and created the Flyknit line, a specialized yarn system which requires minimal labor and brings large profit margins. Launched in 2012, this system is reported to reduce footwear waste by 80% (3.5 million pounds).
Building loyalty from customers.
Many of today’s customers expect transparency and tangible local and global impact from companies they support. Several studies have showed that nearly two-thirds of consumers across six international markets think they have a “responsibility to purchase products and services that are good for the environment and society” (82% in emerging markets and 42% in developed markets).
Companies who embed sustainable values in their core business are more likely to treat employees as critical stakeholders. These organizations tend to create desirable organizational cultures that are sought by talented recruits, as they exhibit a deeper focus on purpose, making employees feel they are part of a broader set of objectives and actions. One study found that morale was 55% higher in companies with more robust sustainability programs, compared to those with much less apparent ones, and employee loyalty was rated 38% higher as well. These conditions translate into improved productivity and reduced absenteeism.
We need to restructure the economic and social institutions of our society to reflect a similar set of values enhancing sustainability. Just as an individual should see work as a form of service, so should businesses and governmental bodies be reoriented to be of service to the whole society, and not just a favored part. A business enterprise should be legally responsible for providing a good or service in the best way possible. Profit should be one measure of the efficiency with which the service is performed, rather than an end in itself.
At Bilaad Realty, our four corporate values of Integrity, Efficiency, Excellence, and Ethics drive every business decision, helping us to better tailor our services for a productive year.