02 August 2023

Sustainability, buzzword or must-do?

by Anneleen Wydooghe

Today, sustainability is an integral part of the business landscape. As an entrepreneur, you find yourself inundated with new information on a daily basis. But what should you actually be concerning yourself about? What should be your first steps towards sustainability? To get you on the right track, we have put together a list of key facts, allowing you to be fully prepared for your own – more sustainable – future.

ESG targets from 2026 onwards

In recent years, sustainability has gained in importance, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by European legislators. As a result, it has already been enshrined in our legislation, a trend that is only set to continue over the coming years. In fact, starting 2026, large companies will be required to report on their own sustainability policies based on so-called ESG targets. In other words, they will need to demonstrate their environmental, social and governance impact.

It is therefore not just a question of where you are as a company today, but of where you want to be and exactly what your path will look like. Which KPIs apply to your business, both in terms of sustainability and finance? And how ambitious do you think you will be in taking your strategy to the next level? Thus, having a well-considered sustainability policy tailored to your particular business is essential.

Not just for large companies

Even if you yourself don't operate a large business, sustainability is still an important and pertinent avenue for you to consider. This is because, as well as having to demonstrate their efforts in this regard, large companies are also required to do so for their suppliers. As such, if you find yourself providing services to any large company, you will have to prove that you yourself are also operating sustainably. So while you don't legally need to actively report your efforts, it is wise to have your own clear sustainability policy in place.


What about your customers and employees?

Besides lawmakers, your customers and (future) employees also have a clear baring on your approach to sustainability. After all, the term has become part and parcel of our everyday lives, meaning that they too hold certain expectations of you as both an entrepreneur and an employer. As well as expecting you to have a clear vision in place, they are themselves more critical and far harder to convince when it comes to big company claims. As such, it is paramount that you offer sincere communication and avoid any accusations of greenwashing. By implementing your own carefully-considered sustainability policy, you have already won half the battle.

Economic considerations

Finally, sustainability is also gaining in terms of economic value for businesses. In future, investors, banks, governments and funding bodies will only want (and be allowed) to work with companies that have embedded sustainable practices as part of their strategic policy and vision. The reason is simple: today, those who view sustainability as an opportunity will have a structural advantage over the competition. In other words, such companies demonstrate a sense of dynamism, that they are ready for the future, and therefore offer a more sensible investment opportunity.

Better today than tomorrow

Clearly, sustainability is becoming an ever more relevant – even essential – consideration for any business. And this is a trend that is only set to continue over the coming years. As such, those seeking to prepare themselves for the future are best advised to invest in a clear sustainability policy today. After all, any investment you make today is sure to pay off both in both the short and long term.

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