Sustainability and its challenges

Sustainability has emerged to be the biggest challenge for CEOs in the year 2022.
While the Corporates and Big Firms have ample resources, guidance, and personnel in place
for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), many small
entrepreneurs and businesses are not yet aware of SDGs.
While for Corporates, compliance with CSR and related activities is made mandatory, a
small business can embrace the concept voluntarily to be in alignment with the growth of a
the community along with its own.
Social, Economical, and Environmental Development is vital for the all-round growth of any
Why do small companies need to implement SDGs though not mandatory?
Communities are important stakeholders for any business. They provide suppliers, vendors,
customers, and other support systems to any local business with ethical marketing.
SDGs could prove to be a low-cost Marketing Tool if applied precisely and increase the
brand value. Every resource a business needs, be it people, materials, and supply chains,
Communities could play a considerable role. A socially inclined enterprise builds a long-lasting

legacy and customer loyalty.
But Communities don’t often welcome businesses with open arms. They have
apprehensions regarding health, pollution, and ethical issues. 
For Instance, there was a concern among locals in rural India regarding a coffee factory set
up in their village premises. Locals complained about a lack of good health among children
and adults due to frequent inhalation of factory emissions. 
However, the management stepped up to prove that these are not the issues caused by the
factory, instead its the result of nearby sewage. A team of scientists and consultants
prepared reports and presented them to the authorities as well to ensure no allegations in
the future.
Even as setting up the factory, they could have assured the community of total wellbeing
with positive interactions and avoided controversy.
Fortunately, they amended the mistake by professional opinion, hiring locals to work in the
premises, and sponsorship of Education for children.  
In what way can a small business with limited investments support a community?

1. Employment is an essential way towards a sustainable community. By hiring locals
an enterprise can ensure the community of its role in uplifting and maintaining
economic stability in the Area.

2. Communities can be great sources of suppliers, which saves costs of transportation.
3. Environmental concerns exist in communities in the aspect of pollution, waste
management, water, and sanitization. By taking part in SDG activities in a community,
businesses can build trust with the members of the community.
4. It’s essential that one does not exploit a community and jeopardize its scope of
growth, but rather contribute to its development.

5. Ensure there’s no pollution in the community caused by the business, for instance,
disposal of waste 
6. Disclosure of business practices to the NGOs in the communities regarding energy
conservation, human rights, and animal rights.
7. Measures to reduce Global warming by conducting theme-based activities and
creating awareness. 
All the activities could be performed with a minimum budget and a sense of responsibility of
a business towards the community. 
Community Development is an indivisible part of enterprise performance. An inclusive model
of working is crucial for success. A business can vow to assist a community in ecological,
political, and social events. 
During epidemics and calamities, many firms have taken part in relief work along with the
state as a result of which communities have hailed them as heroes.
When to start Community Development Activities?
Many small businesses start community-inclusive activities in the inception itself. It ups the
the morale of the employees, adds value to the brand, and establishes a community friendly
image for the brand.
Free resources such as social media stories get traction with minimum effort.
It could be as simple as raising funds for a stray animal, or sponsoring a child’s education
through crowdfunding, keeping the brand at the forefront of activity.
Investors are in favor of companies that have inbuilt Social Responsibility in their work
The valuation of such companies is more than those who don’t take part in Community
Development activities.

Dr. Sailaja is a senior HR Leader and a Sustainability Practices Enthusiast

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