Fact checked by Eddie Regan, BiP Solutions Principal Procurement Consultant
Almost a full third of UK businesses do not have an inclusivity and diversity strategy. There are gains that you can make here, both for the sake of ethics and to make strides in sustainability in business.
At first glance, diversity and sustainability might not seem connected – this is not the case. This article will run through how they are linked and why you should not separate them.
What Do We Mean by Sustainability?
Before getting into the comparison of diversity and sustainability, we need to define what these two terms mean. They have several different definitions, and for this article, they have the following meanings:
Diversity. A wide range of different backgrounds for the people involved in the project. This would include different:
- genders or status in gender reassignment
- education levels
This list is not exhaustive, and there may be other areas where you can find diversity within your organization. Corporate diversity means ensuring that you have a wide range of people hired across your business.
Sustainability. The 1987 UN Brundtland Commission, a group that reviewed environmental issues, defined this as:
“Development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
In the current era of imminent global climate catastrophe, this is more prescient and relevant than ever.
Sustainability Relates to the Globe
When we debate how sustainable business works moving forward, we should be considering not only how things affect us in the local area. We come from a diverse range of countries around this world, and having a low impact in your local area does not always mean the same worldwide. Examples of this failing include shipping large amounts of waste to other countries, who then pollute in excess.
Global sustainability means ensuring that every work unit that you create offsets itself on a global stage. While this might give you short-term local problems, over the long life of your company it will pay back severalfold.
A sustainable business should consider such things to be its responsibility. This way, they can take action to solve problems that they cause or at least are aware of.
Environmental Justice Affects Everyone
It is not only the global stage that you should be aware of. Including diverse talent will allow you to hear voices from close to where you work too, and see where you are failing to be sustainable.
In the UK, for example, the people who live and work in the most polluted locations tend to be people of colour more than anyone else. If not, they are otherwise disadvantaged minorities. Those whose opinions would be worth paying attention to if sustainability is an aim.
Your organization has the capability and responsibility to redistribute resources that you control. Ethical work suggests that you should do this to ensure the most impoverished are the most uplifted. This will ensure that future generations of workers will be from a wider and more diverse range of healthy individuals.
Diverse Voices Help Find New Solutions
The facts are staring us in the face. Diversity and inclusion in business are useful as it means that we do not only hear the same opinions based on the same backgrounds again and again. Instead, we can drive an organization to have better ideas that are either based on more experience, or you can put aside bad ideas faster.
The data confirms this in almost every study, but not enough people are listening to them. The Harvard Business Review even confirms it, as they say that companies with more diverse leadership teams are 45% more likely to grow year on year. On top of that, they are 70% more likely to state that their company expanded into a new market.
Such diversity and inclusion drives also benefit sustainability. When trying to solve problems in this area, you can get feedback from many different backgrounds. This ensures that you engage with a wider cross-section of society.
Then, when attempting to put in place any changes, you are also more likely to have buy-in from other areas. This is because you can get people from the same background who can discuss the situation with those who live here and relate to their problems.
Being Industry Leaders in Sustainability
To be an industry leader in sustainability, you must do so with an ethical mindset. With this in mind, it is impossible to drive a business forward and ignore large swathes of the population and still call yourself ethical. Diversity in business is essential for people to perceive you as an organization to follow.
If you are wondering how to build a sustainable business, then you should look to other examples around you in your industry. It is unlikely that you are not the only one, and with that in mind, you would be best off listening to the minorities that you surround yourself with. Diverse minds can give you the best idea of where to look for leadership and who to follow.
More About Sustainability in Business
Now you should know how diversity and sustainability in business are not only linked but affect one another. Hopefully, you can move forward with your public sector bids knowing a little more about how these might affect you.
If you want to know more about such bids, though, remember that we can help you engage with the world of public and private sector contracts. All you need to do is send us a message to learn what we can do for you. So get in contact today and find out why we are Europe’s #1 in tendering and business intelligence solutions.