Sustainability Benefits: A people, planet and profit business strategy
The DCSEU was mentioned in an article on HR Dive, analyzing the impacts of sustainable benefits.
Who says doing business and doing good don’t mix? Companies across the globe have been doing both, with a renewed commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Companies are doing their part for the planet and getting employees involved by offering "sustainability benefits."
“Sustainability” has no single definition. But experts on the subject agree that the word refers to the way companies remain profitable and competitive — now and into the future — while considering employees, customers, communities, social issues and the environment. Today, sustainability and CSR often are interchangeable terms.
In short, a triple bottom line of people, profits and the planet drives sustainable organizations and their operating strategies.
Businesses can balance the need for economic growth with the active protection of the environment, including removing the carbon footprint of toxic substances and considering the needs of an evolving society through environmentally-aligned projects. Sustainable companies operate on the notion that they can make a profit and expand into new markets and still be good environmental stewards by lowering toxic emissions from their own manufacturing processes or making products and providing services that help address social concerns.
Computer manufacturer Dell, for instance, now ships 70% of its notebooks in material made of bamboo and mushrooms. The nontoxic, recyclable packaging is even harvested near its source.
Corporate social responsibility: A mark of good citizenship
More tool than a strategy, a focus on sustainability demonstrates that a company is a responsible corporate citizen. Through CSR, companies demonstrate their support for causes or activities that benefit society in general. Corporate sponsorship of fundraisers for health organizations or arts programs are examples of community projects.
The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) helps local residents, businesses and institutions save money and energy through efficiency and renewable energy programs. Led by the Sustainable Energy Partnership and under contract to the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), the DCSEU, is a nonprofit committed to environmental preservation, community engagement, and economic development. Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), DCSEU's parent company, also has similar contracts in Ohio and Vermont. Employees participate in a benefits program that encourages sustainability.
Besides aiding and supporting communities, social responsibility programs enhance employee morale, recruiting and retention, says Randall Micek, regional vice president of Robert Half Management Resources. These programs also have external benefits for employees, he says, including networking opportunities, brand awareness and reputation-building.