The Business of Sustainability Entrepreneurs have their role to play in working toward sustainability for all humanity.

By Paul L. Gunn, Jr

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Our world is working to regain a hold on what matters for sustainability in partnership with business. Sustainability requires all our parts to bring about effective change and last results. Entrepreneurs play a critical part in leading the way to help this world deliver sustainable products, solutions and actions that will leave this earth better for those left to carry the torch. Sustainable is "the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level; avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance."

We all have been given time on this earth to be stewards of it. How we educate our youth on how to treat each utilization of resources and their responsibilities for the life they have been given will matter to what we leave behind for them. Leadership training focused on how to build up leaders for tomorrow is wonderful when they produce what I call social responsibility warriors. These are professionals, educators, businesses, influencers, and most importantly, the grassroots teams doing the actual work in the areas needed to move this mission forward. In the derivative Latin sustinere "hold up, hold upright; furnish with means of support; bear, undergo, endure." The following points are how entrepreneurs can work to hold up, support and assist in enduring this cause for sustainability.

Related: Success is Good, But Don't Forget to Embrace Sustainability

Challenge your teams to be accountable for sustainment

Have you looked around this world as it is now and asked yourself, is this a place I would want to leave my children or bring children into? In its current state, would sustainment warrant them to prosper? If your answer no, then you can challenge those around you to make a change now. Entrepreneurs can leverage their resources, supply chains and partners to work with firms that are doing their best to be responsible for sustainability and raise the bar for those who are making slow changes in this domain.

Now is the time to start working with firms making a difference and need the help of those on buying side to select their products or solutions as a preferred partner or product. The motives will be pure because the actions are being done without reason for seeking to gain certifications. For those businesses who do have certifications in sustainability and are acting on them, more business needs to be driven towards these firms. Partnerships and awareness to and for them help consumers play an active role in seeking out those businesses who are socially, economically, and globally responsible to the earth with sustainment in mind.

Related: Sustainability in Business: Why Change is Needed Now

Support the efforts of charities and organizations focused on sustainability

There are many charities and organizations that are doing excellent work who need financial resources from businesses and citizens to further their missions in this. As a participant in sharing the earth, your employees may have programs that mean a great deal to them. Show empathy in your business by seeking out what your team members know about charities and organizations that are inactive in sustainability. Give your team the support either with time for them to further support what matters to them or the financial resources to help their causes. Many businesses have been dealt hardships over the past year, and as some recover with a new mindset for the future, this is one way to keep your team and business focused on doing more in the world to support sustainment. Entrepreneurs can align themselves with causes that will also bring their partners with them—sustainment in our world matters. As a business community, we can collaborate to move things forward on sustainment and leave this world in a better place. When businesses and franchises work to select their products based on sustainable products, they are helping and should be acknowledged for serving not only their customers but also the world.

Reward your team and partners for enduring efforts to assist in this cause

The efforts for teams and businesses that are doing versus saying on this topic would benefit from being rewarded financially for their efforts. Genuine actions will provide businesses loyal brand customers who will align with their purpose to be in business and support sustainability. Many awards for businesses are now acknowledging impact businesses and those who are doing good in this world. These businesses who are making an impact in the world would benefit from being rewarded with consumers who buy from them, partnerships who get behind them with the resources and more media coverage on the successes of them for what they are doing both in business and on sustainability. Not all businesses can create products or solutions that fully embrace the complete adoption of sustainable practices. They can begin to move in this direction and align with those programs, organizations and companies who do and help them further this cause. In doing this, as they begin to make changes, they are helping those who are already doing so. Collaborating with these team will be rewarding them and showing other that success can be achieved with sustainability in mind.

Related: It's Official: Customers Prefer Sustainable Companies

Wavy Line
Paul L. Gunn, Jr

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder & CEO of KUOG Corporation

Paul L. Gunn, Jr. is highly skilled in procurement, logistics and supply chain for the Department of Defense and private sector. He is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.

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