Redefining Stakeholders for Sustainability
By Leah Feor
Have you ever noticed how some companies manage to make a positive impact within their community and continue to grow at the same time?
Being good to your community doesn’t need to come at the expense of your financial bottom line; instead it can help boost it. A good place to start is by thinking about the interest of your stakeholders, not your shareholders.
Stakeholders vs. Shareholders
Stakeholders are those affected by the course of action of a company. They are employees, community members, government agencies, creditors, etc. Furthermore, shareholders and owners fall under the category of stakeholders, so their interests are covered too.
While many groups are covered under the term, there are excluded stakeholders. The two biggest: children and the environment. However that doesn’t mean they need to be excluded from your company’s radar when making important decisions.
Meeting Future Needs
By broadening the definition your team uses for stakeholder, you can tap into a new market and ultimately better serve your community.
Let’s take children for example. Because children are adults of the future, by considering them when creating your strategic plan, you visualize your company in the future. This means you are thinking beyond this quarter or year. You will set long term goals knowing that new stakeholders are continuously entering your market with every passing day. More importantly, you’ll notice that there needs are different; this will empower you to be more innovative and evolve your business.
Looking at the environment on the other hand is much more complex. There are two sides that I see and many things in between. First off from a good steward of the environment point of view, you have the need to preserve and respect the Earth. Secondly, you can start to see things from a regenerative economy perspective.
What you end up with are business procedures that are preventative and help to remediate the environment. To be a good steward of the environment means that you are responsible for what you produce and how you produce it. Your company considers the practices of companies in the supply chain, ensuring that you share the same values.
The production team at your company is reviewing and refining procedures to reduce the amount of waste and by-products created. This opens the door to think about how your company can participate in a regenerative economy framework and begin to consider the lifecycle of the product and what can be done to divert by-products from landfills.
If you want to further incorporate sustainability into your business practices, you need to continuously think about interconnectivity. In omitting just one interest group from the big picture, you’re missing out on the opportunity to make a difference in your company, community, and perhaps even across the globe.
About the Author – Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things.