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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

What are the Most Common Misconceptions about Sustainability?

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

How well do you understand sustainability? Answer the questions to find out!

Is sustainability about the environment?

When I talk about business sustainability, often people say to me, "Oh, yes, I care about climate change."

While climate change is an important aspect of sustainability, it is not the only challenge which needs to be addressed in order to achieve sustainability.

The key to understanding sustainability is acknowledging that sustainability encompasses economic, social and environmental sustainability. These three components can be looked at through the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development and their 169 targets for achievement.

A business can not claim to be sustainable if they are working on climate change but have no females in their organisation and are running the business at a deficit. Sustainability has to work across all three levels of the triple bottom line in order to have any real impact.

Does everyone care about sustainability?

Whenever we discuss sustainability in business, the question of conscious millennial consumers always seems to come up. The millennial generation has an unprecedented tendency towards sustainability and, as such, tends to be the main group sustainability experts concern themselves with. This is also compounded by the fact that these shoppers are the future consumers for many years to come.

However, it is not just millennials who care about sustainability. There are many other societal demographics who are concerned about the products and services they are purchasing.

If you show the grid of the 17 Global Goals to someone on the street, it is very unlikely they will say that they don't care about any of the goals. By caring about just one of the goals, someone would have to care about all of the goals because the only way to achieve one is to achieve them all.

Are only large corporates working towards sustainability?

We often hear in the media about large corporates making big commitments to economic, social and environmental sustainability. Quite often, the commitments of small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) don't make it to the media. This does not mean that SMEs are not working towards sustainability. 80% of Australian SMEs donate money to charity each year, which shows a very basic commitment to sustainability from such a large portion of the sector.

Can I really make a difference?

It can be overwhelming at times for a small business to look at sustainability and try to work out what impact they will really have. That is why many small businesses won't engage in sustainability practices. However, businesses of all sizes can make an incredible impact by being a voice for the cause! The only way we will achieve sustainability is by ensuring everyone is working together. Even a little change in a small business can bring about an incredible difference!

To find out how you can make an impact, contact us today!

This article was originally published on the Strategic Sustainability Consultants website.

#corporatesocialresponsibility #sustainablystrategic

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