Today firms face the challenging need to rapidly adapt to the changing business environment; Nonetheless, it seems the key differentiation not only relays on the ability to evolve, transform and adapt products and services to market trends, but to foster and balance the economic growth to synergistically coexist and transcend both profitably and sustainably. Additionally, there is a huge worldwide pressure on business from society and government to minimize blueprint and therefore, in other words, become economically sustainable for the benefit of our planet.
Change is inevitable and companies need to rapidly react and create innovative strategies that drive customer satisfaction and consequently enable abundant profits. However, in every action, there are positive and negative outcomes as well as risks to consider. This, consequently leaves to an economic course question: “Can the supplier produce and distribute goods to buyers, at the right place and the right time, at a price which is acceptable to the buyer, and a cost which is acceptable to the seller, in a way that provides value for all stakeholders?” (Lwitzel, Morgan, 2017, p21). Probably the answer to this question is the ongoing challenge businesses experience to grow, adapt and innovate with limited resources to successfully exist in such a dynamic economic environment.
On the other hand, the major obstacle to the sustainable development is mainly the costs. While aiming for a sustainable development, every organization requires a huge investment to grow. Although those investments can considerably reduce the long-term costs, for an instance the energy efficiency, in financial terms, many green solutions are considered costly in comparison with the conventional alternatives. As to the concept of growth, it has always been in parallel with an increase in consumption levels, and this has ultimately affected the environment and the resources supporting human activity.
Therefore, to ensure the future capabilities of any organization, management needs to start implementing sustainable practices to improve the opportunities allowing to accomplish not only all needs and aspirations but also the full long-term potential for all stakeholders.
One of such sustainable development concept to consider is the eco-efficient development comprising all the human activities as “an integral part of nature”. The concept of eco-efficiency is designed to maintain a balance in business, particularly between ecology and profitable operations, which means producing more with less, by being environmentally responsible.
In other words, the eco-efficiency is a management concept based on the economic use of technology to reduce the consumption of resources and the impact on ecosystems. It calls for organizations to acknowledge their responsibility towards the environment and society and to rethink the economic activity by means of innovation and competitiveness. To establish an eco-efficient business, organizations need to reduce material and energy intensity use, reduce dispersion of toxic substances, enhance recyclability and maximize the use of renewables, increase product and service durability and service intensity as well as quality.
By reducing the consumption of resources in the production of goods and services, an eco-efficient organization aims to minimize the usage of energy, raw materials, water and land resources, while increasing of the recycling capacity and the sustainability of its products and services. The reduction of the environmental impact not only entails the reduction of the air pollutants, water emissions, and waste dispersion but also it supports the sustainable usage of renewable resources. As consequence, it can underpin an efficient economic growth due to the reduction of the bills on the use of energy, raw material, and water, which creates a sustainable development strategy at both macro and micro levels. Furthermore, to support eco-efficiency, management can implement and integrate an Environmental Management System in the general management system of the company to identify all possible sustainability-related risks and opportunities and manage them properly (LUPAN & COZORICI, 2015).
Witzel, Morgan, (2017, October). Economic course, session 2: Economics for a Sustainable World. Audencia Business School. Retrieved from https://audencia.blackboard.com
LUPAN, M., & COZORICI, A. N. (2015). Sustainable Economic Growth and Eco-Efficiency. The USV Annals of Economics and Public Administration, 15(1 (21)).
Written by: Nagima SUYUNDUKOVA, Ana Carmen Sánchez