The approach that the case study has taken towards tackling the issue of sustainability of a company is quite impeccable. A case analysis of Robert et al., 2012 indicates that to ensure sustainable measures, companies must first getting rid of the major challenges that hold back many firms from achieving sustainability. Some of these challenges are the lack of trust, transparency, and long-term critical thinking (Emma). Studies indicate a gradual decline in the trust that customers and employees have in business corporations. There is a close connection between the level of transparency and trust in many companies, thus drawing conclusions that companies with high transparency are highly likely to have higher trust from their employees and thus have high sustainability. The strategies drawn through the case analysis indicate that there is a growing belief that the restoration of transparency and sustainability could be a significant step towards ensuring the company achieves sustainability. In addition, the case analysis indicates that companies need to foster a long-term thinking approach to help ensure sustainability. However, Robert et al., 2012’s strategy of enhancing sustainability is quite challenging to implement. Its focus is too wide to implement and requires the revision of an organizations’ culture, which may pose another challenge, as some corporations may not be able to handle significant change in a short period. Besides, the nature of its approach is quite slow because fostering aspects, such as trust to a large group of employees and customers, is difficult because there is no assurance of attainment of success.
The strategy of leadership commitment, external engagement, and employee engagement, as suggested in the case study, are indeed powerful in promoting sustainability. The three aspects combine to ensure that the execution of operations within a firm is up to standard such that their results have a positive impact on the social and physical environment as well as the economy of their localities. For instance, the presence of external engagement allows for stakeholders to keep piling pressure on the company’s management while fostering improvement in its performance. As a company grows, it will need to have strong leaders who are committed to the course and objectives of the firm to remain sustainable. Just as the case study highlights the importance of leadership commitment on the motivation of the employees, it cannot be stressed enough that they are also a steering force towards coming up with long-term sustainability measures and goals and guiding the workforce towards achieving them (Robert, Kathleen, and George). But even so, the suggested strategies still have a lot to take place for them to successfully undergo implementation. For instance, employee engagement requires a change in individual behavior. Such a change sounds easy but can only take place if employees have a strong belief in the organizational culture of the firm and the direction of its set goals.
My recommendation will occur in three steps. First, I recommend the active involvement of the government in matters of companies’ sustainability. Many governments lack clarity in the creation of policies that seek to promote corporate sustainability. For instance, they have failed to give a strong stance regarding the implementation of carbon-pricing, feed-in tariffs for new energy sources, and regulation of other greenhouse gases. The governments should create an integrated public policy that will cut across all corporations to foster uniform sustainability with regard to the physical environment.
Secondly, companies need to educate their clients to positively influence their consumption behavior. Corporate firms can only go so far without the support of their customers in their activities. They need to make consumers aware of the importance of having to pay an extra cost for the environmentally-friendly products. The knowledge of these sustainable measures put in place by a company should be able to shift consumer behavior so that they do not entirely base their choice of products on their costs but also on the need to promote sustainability. For instance, consumers should purchases products whose packages are recyclable or biodegradable instead of non-biodegradable and non-reusable ones.
Finally, companies should integrate sustainability into the corporate culture. A revision of the current cultures that firms hold would help make some of the changes that would steer them towards sustainability. For instance, in 2007, a study found that CEOs spent an average of fewer than six years at the helm of firms (Anthea, Tima, and Tima). Such a short time is not sufficient to foster the goal of sustainability of creating long-term goals to be achieved through effective management. These shifts of management hinder progress towards sustainability. In this regard, firms must change their approaches by revising their corporate cultures. They need to create room for having long-term goals by putting in place a well-thought long-term leadership strategy so that there aren’t unnecessary reshuffles that may affect the sustainability project.
My recommendation is better because it is simpler and starts out gradually. It involves the government, consumers, and also factors in the corporate culture. While the strategies in the case study were more detailed, they failed to factor in the important role the government has in public policy and how that can change the corporations’ sustainability approaches. Besides, my recommendations identify the importance of consumers in supporting the firms’ goals directly through the purchase of their products. In addition, the recommendations also factor in the current challenge of many corporate firms regarding their shaky leadership, which affects sustainability goals.
The major problem that the firms could face by implementing these recommendations is that they may lose their loyal consumers due to risen prices to accommodate the additional operating costs for coming up with environmental-friendly products. To negate this challenge, firms must be able to engage in in-depth research to come up with cost-effective products that will remain affordable to the customers.
Anthea, Rowe, Bansal Tima and Bansal Tima. Ten Steps to Sustainable Business in 2013. 2013. <https://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/ten-ways-to-help-companies-become-sustainable-in-2013/>.
Emma, Upton. A Sustainable Business Future: The 7 Challenges. 2017. <https://corporate-citizenship.com/2017/03/13/sustainable-business-future-7-challenges/>.
Robert, Eccles, Perkins Kathleen and Serafeim George. “How to Become a Sustainable Company.” MIT Sloan 53.4 (2012).