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A sustainable company accepts responsibility for the future by creating enduring value in the world. A sustainable company can make a difference for future generations. There are multiple ways to demonstrate sustainability, and depending on the industry a company operates in, sustainable practices will vary.
For instance, a company might be dedicated to creating a lasting clean water supply in emerging nations. Others that depend on agriculture may promote environmentally friendly behavior in farming. Food companies that serve meat may require that suppliers treat animals in a humane way.
Although most companies depend on clean drinking water to operate, a soda-bottling company would have even more of an invested interest. This might motivate a company to address severe and chronic water shortages in the places where the business operates. As a result, some of the most critical freshwater river basins around the globe may be preserved, sources that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.
In some emerging countries, such as the Sub-Saharan Africa, there are problems with water cleanliness. Clean water is necessary not only for consumption but also for tasks such as washing clothes or for general hygiene purposes. Companies, therefore, have an invested interest in clean water. A sustainable company would be intent on providing water purification systems in under developed markets. Eventually, this investment will pay off because society has a better chance of being healthy and prospering with purified water, which can lead to a greater demand for products.
A company that depends on crops such as coffee can also create a more sustainable world. For example, a company may promote socially and environmentally responsible behavior in agriculture. This means that crops would be grown and traded ethically and suppliers that accept anything less would be avoided. Additionally, a sustainable company would exhibit environmentally friendly behavior such as recycling and reusing products whenever possible.
While a sustainable company may be grouped in the same category as corporate responsibility, there are some key differences. A sustainable company focuses on creating tangible changes to a region for the purpose of creating better efficiency for its products. The goal of corporate responsibility, on the other hand, is to give back to society in away that may never be repaid and can be totally unrelated to the business at hand. Both, however, strive to create a better life for the residents in the regions where a company operates.