Sustainable Business Development This Globalized Business Environment Research Paper

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Sustainable Business Development

This globalized business environment in which companies must develop their activity determines them to find innovative solutions in order to create competitive advantage. In order to reach this objective it does not suffice to focus on low prices and high quality. Customers, the authorities and communities expect these companies to become more active in different sectors. Therefore, companies must increase their efforts and investments in supporting environmental causes.

The concept of sustainable business development refers to a business model of companies' growth and development that focuses on using resources so that human needs are met while preserving the environment. This purpose of this business model is to be able to have resources to meet these needs in the future also. In other words, sustainable business development refers to the relationship between the capacity of the natural systems and the social challenges of individuals. Sustainable business development is represented by environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and sociopolitical sustainability.

Environmental sustainability refers to ensuring that companies' activities and strategies support interaction with the environment that focus on the preservation of natural resources. In addition to this, unsustainable situations regarding the environment are represented by situations when natural resources are used faster than they are replenished. In order to ensure environmental sustainability, it is important that the activity of individuals and companies use natural resources on a slower level, allowing their replenishment.

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The International Organization for Standardization has developed a series of standards that must be met by companies in order to ensure their sustainable business development (ISO, 2011). Regarding the field of the environment, ISO has developed a strategy of reaching the needs of companies, governments, industries, consumers, and communities by focusing on a multi-level approach. Therefore, ISO's portfolio includes a wide range of standardized sampling, testing, and analytical methods directed towards dealing with environmental problems.

Research Paper on Sustainable Business Development This Globalized Business Environment Assignment

These standards refer to monitoring different issues like the quality of air, water, and oil. The objectives of these standards refer to providing scientifically proven information on the effects of economic activity on the environment. This information is intended for the use of governments that must develop, apply, and monitor environmental regulations, and to companies that must ensure they meet these standards or they intensify their efforts in order to meet them.

The activity of ISO is also directed towards ensuring the integration of business and environmental goals. This can be achieved by companies integrating environmental issues in their product design strategy. Therefore, this helps companies determine the effects that their products and services are expected to have on the environment and how they can counteract these effects.

The standards in the ISO 14000 group establish requirements and guidelines for environmental management systems, labeling, performance evaluation, life cycle analysis, communication, and auditing. These environmental management systems are developed so that they can be applied by all companies, regardless of their size, activity, and objectives. These systems help companies identify and control the effects their activity, products and services have on the environment. They also help companies continuously improve their environmental performance. In addition to this, these systems provide a systematic approach to establishing and reaching environmental objectives.

ISO 14000 standards are developed as a general, strategic approach to environmental issues that must be included in companies' strategy. The reason behind not developing specific environmental performance levels relies on the fact that this would require to develop different standard for each activity. The organization considers it is more efficient to provide general rules that can be applied by all companies with the necessary results. In addition to this, it helps improve communication on environmental management.

There are several types of objectives that ISO 14000 intends to reach. The internal objectives are represented by providing assurance to management that control processes and activities with significant impact on the environment, and by assuring employees that they work for environmentally responsible companies (ISO, 2011). The external objectives are represented by assuring stakeholders that companies are environmentally responsible, complying with environmental regulations, and supporting the demonstration of companies' environmental sustainability efforts.

The international standards developed by ISO provide a series of tools that can be used by companies in their attempt to reach environmental sustainability objectives. The importance of these tools relies on their certain characteristics. ISO standards are technically credible because they are developed by numerous international experts and stakeholders. They are intended to fulfill stakeholders' needs because the development process of ISO standards relies on international input and consensus.

They also ensure the development of general requirements. This is achieved by supporting the participation of national member institutes from different countries. In addition to this, the fact that these standards are generalized helps improve efficiency because they can be applied to different sectors, industries, and companies. These standards support regulatory compliance and increase the trust of investors.

The most important standards in the ISO 14000 group are represented by: ISO 14001 for environmental management systems, ISO 14031 for environmental performance, ISO 14020 for environmental labels and declarations, ISO 14063 for environmental communication, and others. There are several benefits that ISO 14000 standards determine for the environment, business, governments, individuals, and their communities. The most important benefits are represented by: reduced cost of waste management, savings in consumption of energy and materials, lower distribution costs, improved corporate image, and support for continuous improvement of environmental performance.

There are also other benefits of applying the ISO 14000 standards. These benefits refer to creating a balance between very strict government regulations and voluntary schemes. It is difficult for most companies to find such a balance and to work on environmental sustainability. This is a difficult task for governments also. In addition to this, it is possible that these efforts do not necessarily lead to protecting people and the environment (Hanson, 2011). Therefore, specialists in the field consider that ISO 14000 standards play an important role in developing such a balance.

In order to properly integrate environmental sustainability standards in company's strategies, it is important that managers understand the importance of these standards, their effects on corporate strategy, and their role in ensuring that these standards are properly integrated. This integration determines a series of responsibilities and obligations from companies, their managers, and their employees. These responsibilities must be reflected on different levels, like companies' mission, vision, values, principles, and objectives.

Integrating these environmental sustainability standards in companies' vision should not be limited to simple statements. They must be transformed in measurable objectives, targeted by the strategy. It is also important that the company's vision and mission are presented to managers. This is so that they can further help their subordinates understand the ISO guidelines and organize their work in order to support them.

The same is understood in the case of companies' values, principles, and objectives. These must reflect companies' interest, implication, and commitment towards complying with these regulations. It is important that companies prove this with visible results. This helps them improve their image among customers, business partners, and authorities.

In addition to this, implementing ISO 14000 standards can determine increased return on investment. However, in order to reach this objective it is important that managers show pro-activity in this direction. This is because managers must be an example for their employees regarding environmental sustainability. This also leads to increased loyalty from employees towards a company that supports the environment and makes investments in this direction.

Specialists in the field consider that SMEs play a very important role in environmental management. This is because most national economies rely on SMEs. Therefore, it is important that governments intensify their efforts in determining SMEs to contribute to implementing ISO 14000 standards. However, there are several barriers that must be taken into consideration. These barriers refer to the lack of awareness that SMEs determine important effects on the environment, technical, financial, and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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