In case you are new in the subject of sustainability and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), in a nutshell they are principles that believe that, in the long run, companies are better if they can be sustainable in terms of Profit, People, and Planet. Profit: obviously a company needs to make profit to run, as they say ‘money makes the world go round’, – no problem understanding that! But the other two, People and Planet, may sound too good for us who are so used to the old paradigm of pure profit oriented companies (*evil companies*) who demand so much from their employees and care so little about everything else other than making as much profit as possible.
Although in our heart we know there’s got to be a limit, – nature is one of the inevitable limits on the verge of a breaking-point – but still, is it too naive to imagine a good company that can make enough profit to support itself and all its employees, and yet is environment friendly and also cares about the communities around it? Too good to be true?
In early October 2015, BeritaSatu interviewed Alistair Speirs (Chairman of The World’s Most Valued Brands – MVB Indonesia), Andy Zain (member of the International Brand Council, and also Managing Director of Mountain Kejora Ventures), and Yoris Sebastian (Founder of OMG Consulting).
Although the interview is about sustainability in general, but we also picked up 5 Realistic Reasons by these experts that a sustainable company is NOT too good to be true after all!
1. Efficiency and Customer Care are part of being sustainable
Andy started with an example, “…a good restaurant with a long queue may look successful, but actually it’s not good, people hate waiting.” So now there is the technology to eliminate queues and customers are happier that way and that is already one way of doing sustainability! Here we can see that part of being a sustainable company is also about making operations more efficient, doing cost cutting while saving up resources (water, electricity, time, etc.), and creating customer satisfaction that leads to loyalty and repeat orders. Surely any company would care about those things.
2. If you don’t do it, someone else will
Yoris pointed out that, “…there is a growing consumer segment who cares (about sustainability -ed).” So if a company doesn’t grab this segment, then someone else will! Even profit oriented companies understand these basic principles: grab all opportunities that you can and make a foothold early on before it’s too late.
3. Similar economy threat
Yoris also added that while that new consumer segment above is growing fast, “…now we are in the ‘similar economy’ phase. Almost all products and services today are similar, – same colors same everything – so what makes the company different?” Well service is one thing, but also sustainability.” Imagine smartphones – nowadays they all have similar features, so how do you decide which brand to buy? It all comes down to which brand you trust and like better.
Assuming they have the same quality; would you buy the brand from a company you know is causing massive pollution in Indonesia? Or the one who is conserving natural resources and (according to your friend who happily works there) is treating employees well?
4. Value beyond profit
Another interesting fact that Andy stated is that, “a company can have a really high value, billions of dollars of value even, but they’re actually not making profit yet. People (including investors -ed) know this company has a good prospect in the long run, that they are doing everything the best way they can.” Wouldn’t this attract more investors?
5. Profit from trust
In the end profit does matter, but Speirs concluded that it’s so much better if, “Profit comes from trust. If the consumers trust the product, the brand, then they will buy.” ; “… it’s no longer about how successful your company is, but what’s behind the success. Be responsible to your employees, the community, and the environment.”
If you are interested to see the original interview, please head to YouTube. Watch all three segments, and be inspired!