When it comes to business philosophy, the responsibility of business owners is growing. In the past, businesses had a responsibility to support their employees and provide a good product to their customers. In fact, Milton Friedman, a famous American economist, stated in 1970 that the only responsibility of business owners was to increase their own profits. Since then, many economists have greatly expanded that responsibility.
Modern economists and leaders believe that the responsibility of a business is to all of its stakeholders. This includes their direct employees and customers, but it also includes everyone who is impacted by the company’s actions. If this is true, then a company has a responsibility for a large portion of the population, such as those who live around their factories, those who are impacted by the waste that the company produces, and more.
Whether or not your company follows this philosophy, the fact remains that lawmakers and leaders believe in this idea. Regulation practices like Extended Producer Responsibility show this, and trends show that more responsibility will be officially placed on businesses and producers in the future.
So, how can your company continue to thrive as your responsibilities grow? Focusing on a purposeful business model is a start. Here’s what that looks like.
A purposeful business is one that takes its social and environmental impacts seriously. It seeks not only to create a profit but to also make a positive impact on the world. Purposeful businesses pursue more than profits. They seek the triple bottom line: social impacts, environmental impacts, and financial gain.
Alex Edmans, a professor of finance and an outspoken proponent of this idea, believes that a purposeful business can only gain a profit from creating value for society. This means that every aspect of their business should lead to a positive impact on both the environment and society. While this may sound far-reaching, we at TONTOTON share the belief that businesses must strive toward this goal and make changes now so that their company can truly boast their purpose without greenwashing or other shallow actions.
Becoming a purposeful business will not happen overnight. Depending on your company’s current focus on its impact, it may take decades to implement strategies in order to achieve impact goals. However, it’s never too late to start, and even small changes today can lead to a great positive impact for the future.
Sustainability’s importance in business
Adopting a sustainable business model is one key feature of developing a purposeful business. The benefits are threefold: sustainability is important for society, important for the environment, and important for business.
Beyond its social importance, studies show again and again that a sustainable business model is also the most financially responsible approach. Companies that have successfully implemented sustainability strategies have seen profit in multiple ways.
- improved customer loyalty
- lower overhead through in-house changes like energy-efficient light bulbs
- less resource usage which protects materials that producers depend upon
Additionally, regulation practices like Extended Producer Responsibility place financial responsibility for poor sustainability practices on producers and companies. EPR regulations are already being implemented all over the world, and the top sustainability and environmental entities are pushing for similar regulation globally. Companies need to prepare for such regulation if they want to see continued profits in the future.
Sustainability also preserves resources. Many major corporations have lost huge amounts of money because of their failure to protect the very resources that they depend upon. For example, Coca-Cola lost a US $25 million plant in India in 2014 because of their failure to address the pollution it brought. Other companies share a similar fate if they fail to protect their resources and their workers.
Moving to a sustainable business model also attracts talented employees. Sustainability is becoming more important to the general population, including both consumers and potential employees. If you want your business to remain competitive, both as an employer and a producer, it must keep its impact in mind.
While companies must maintain focus on profits, their finances should not be the only reason to pursue more sustainable business practices. It’s also the right thing to do. We all share a certain responsibility to this earth, and that includes preserving the planet for future generations. Sustainability experts agree that all stakeholders—companies, governments, and individuals—hold a certain responsibility when it comes to the sustainability of our planet.
Many experts argue that businesses hold an additional responsibility. It makes sense; companies are the entities that make most use of our resources in order to produce the products that consumers enjoy and are, therefore, in a position to make the greatest changes. If we’re, as a global community, to make any meaningful changes, we will depend upon the leadership of businesses and governments.
How your company can begin making purposeful decisions today
Knowing that your company must make more sustainable decisions and actually strategizing a successful sustainable business strategy are two different things. The problem is that the science of sustainability feels as though it’s ever-changing, and not all strategies fit all industries. Your company’s sustainability journey will likely change over the years, and you must be vigilant to ensure that the choices that you make today are the right choices for the future.
Some ways that you can start making changes now include the following.
- Investing in research to help make your products more sustainable.
- Reducing the amount of plastic used in your packaging.
- Vetting your suppliers to ensure that your supply chain is also sustainable
- Using your position to encourage your customers and employees to be more sustainable, too.
Of course, these are just the first small steps. Your sustainability strategy should be consistently analyzed, and your company should always strive to achieve their best.
The social and environmental responsibility of TONTOTON
Partnering with TONTOTON offers an important first step toward a sustainable business model for your company. TONTOTON’s certified plastic credit system allows companies to take responsibility for their plastic waste now while implementing strategies to minimize their plastic waste in the future.
Through plastic credit funding, TONTOTON works in vulnerable communities in Vietnam and Cambodia to clean up orphan plastic waste—low-value, post-consumer plastic—while supporting individuals within those communities. We do so by monetizing orphan plastic—which, until now, has not had value for waste pickers—which encourages waste pickers and individuals to collect a type of plastic waste that is typically left to pollute nature.
We also provide personal protective equipment, access to healthcare, and training to those we employ as well as competitive wages. We value our employees and their safety, and we provide an environment in which our workers can feel safe while providing much-needed income to their families. It’s a win for everyone.
Once we collect the plastic waste, we bring it to cement factories for co-processing: a method that converts plastic waste into energy and raw materials, resulting in zero waste. Furthermore, we are always looking for ways for our processes to become cleaner and more sustainable, pushing ourselves to serve the communities and the environment in the most effective ways.
TONTOTON’s plastic credit system doesn’t just allow you to take responsibility for your plastic waste. We provide an immediate and lasting service to individuals and communities that are most vulnerable to plastic waste. Partnering with TONTOTON offers the socially and environmentally responsible choice that your company is looking for.