Sustainability is a big word in our industry, and the way our customers make purchasing decisions most often comes down to cost or previous relationships — so any “take away” here should be based around sustainability being the right choice through the lens of cost, sustainability of their company, and choosing a company that has good ethical values in their materials.
What is sustainability?
The term sustainability is used to refer to the practice of using a resource in such a way that is not completely used up or permanently damaged. Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing people who work in a variety of fields, including urban planning, transportation and law — both national and international — as well as private individuals making decisions regarding their lifestyles and consumer habits. The good news is that more companies than ever are seeing sustainability as one of the core forces that drives their business activity.
MIT’s case for sustainability
MIT, famous as a school where those aspiring to a career in the technology field, has recently conducted a study in favor of sustainability that revealed its strong correlation with economic innovation, although, as will be seen, the reality is a great deal more complex than that. Here are five things that MIT discovered:
- The key to business success lies in sustainability-driven innovation.
- Innovation goes far beyond the supply chain — those looking for ways to profit from sustainability also look to find new ways to do things, including serving old and new customers.
- When the C-suite puts sustainability on its agenda, the business has a greater chance of succeeding. The attention of the top management team is crucial here.
- There is great challenge and potential in “intangible benefits.” The really big challenge is figuring out a way to quantify such profits.
- The biggest good to be derived from sustainability lies in improved brand reputation.
Some of the biggest challenges facing sustainability today
The demands of the modern world on national economies is much greater today than it was at any time in the past. Most notably, the rate of increase of the world’s population has gone up: Its peak occurred in 1963, and in the past two or three years it has declined. Other important pressures bearing on sustainability include:
- the rise of the middle class
- mushrooming urban areas. Even in Africa, which has always been the least urbanized continent, there are some countries, including Benin, Gabon and Ghana, where the urban population now exceeds that in rural areas.
- economic growth
All of these factors have resulted in an ever-increasing demand for natural resources, including food, water, land and energy. “The Business Case for Sustainability,” a report by the International Finance Corporation, one of five organizations that make up the World Bank Group, stated that, owing to a rise in consumption levels, both per capita income and energy use have increased by 80 percent over the last decade.
For the entrepreneur to succeed in business, it is crucial that he or she understand climate change and what steps can be taken to adapt thereto. Companies have been under pressure from the general public to cut down their levels of greenhouse emissions, which were up by six percent during 2010.
As a consequence of such developments, an increasing number of all but small companies are adopting long-term strategies for managing environmental crises.
At Paragon we understand the importance of sustainability and the impact we can leave behind as a manufacturer. Since the first days of production, Paragon’s culture fostered creativity and gave employees the freedom to take risks and try new ideas. This innovative culture led to a steady stream of products. With no boundaries on imagination and no barriers to cooperation, one innovative idea swiftly lead to another.
It's within this innovative culture that we at Paragon have established some key investments when it comes to sustainability. To see what we do, click below to find out.