Analysing a Sustainable Business
Sustainable business can be defined as, “green business or sustainable business is an enterprise that has a minimal negative impact on the local; or global environment, community, economy or society. A business that strives to meet the triple bottom line. Often, sustainable businesses have progressive environmental and human rights policies.” in a broader context of business sustainability or corporate sustainability (Boons, Montalvo, Quist & Wagner, 2013, p.1). It is “the management and coordination of environmental, financial and social financial demands and concerns to ensure responsible, ethical and ongoing success.” The financial, social and economic demands are the pillars on which any business has been based. These pillars are taken to the sustainable aspect where the traditional and conventional practices are taken into the bottom line, and more beneficial sustainable plans are getting implemented which can bring long-term benefits to the business organisation (Laukkanen & Patala, 2014, p.1440010).
In the traditional corporate culture, there has always been conflict among the financial elements of the organisations along with the social and environmental factors. The non-renewable resources are the requirement of the business infrastructure which is being replaced by sustainable structure (D’amato, Henderson & Florence, 2009, p.n.d). A sustainable structure provides less harm to the environment, and it may look like it is expensive to implement sustainable practices, but these sustainable practices have a greater return on investment because of their increased profitability. Once the investment is made on sustainable development, the cost gets paid off eventually (Belu, 2009, p.257). The use of sustainable development also helps the businesses to follow the corporate social responsibility and ethical conducts of the business. To make a sustainable development. There are certain approaches which are defined, and their impact has been observed in the automotive industry (Sayer, 2013, p.183).
Approaches to Sustainable Development
The Triple Bottom Line
The tipple bottom line has been defined as, “it is an accounting framework that incorporates three dimensions of performance: social, environmental and financial. This differs from traditional reporting frameworks as it includes ecological (or environmental) and social measures that can be difficult to assign appropriate means of measurement. The triple bottom line dimensions are also called the three Ps. People, planet and profits”. Some organisations practice sustainable practices of accounting. These organisations have adopted the framework of TBL to evaluate their performance in a broader perspective so that they could create better value in their business (Slaper & Hall, 2011, p.4).
The Five Capitals
There are many challenges in business to understand sustainable development. A system or a model would be much acceptable to understand the system more easily. This model can be generated based on “necessary capitals” which are needed for a business so that the business could deliver its products and services. These capitals must be increased for the successful operation of a business (Willard, 2012, p.n.d). These five capitals are;
- Natural Capital – this capital is used by the organisations which are involved in production, and they have to go through the natural process for safe, natural cycles
- Human Capital – the health, knowledge and skills of people in the business. any damage to the health standard of human capital may have a determinant impact on the productivity of the business
- Social Capital – This includes the channel of communication and networking of human capital. The benefits of social capital include, “development of common values” and “trust” which helps the people to work more effectively (Willard, 2012, p.n.d).
- Manufactured Capital – this is the right and sustainable raw material used in the production of a product. If the raw material is not eco-friendly, the manufactured capital or product would not be said to be a sustainable product.
- Financial Capital – The capital that involves, currency, shares, money, bonds and coins. A sustainable financial capital would be considered to be the one which involves “fair distribution of wealth” and “creating wealth in local communities” (Willard, 2012, p.n.d).
Regarding sustainable development of a business Natural capitalism is defined as, “An economy is a system that incentivises p5rofit based on proper care of the environment. In other words, natural capitalism assigns an economic value to stewardship of the planet. Income from natural capital includes yield from trees and plants. Natural capitalism assumes that goods and services have a value apart from their potential sale price on the market. Natural Capitalism remains largely theoretical” (Kendall, 2008, p.59).
Cradle to Cradle
Cradle to cradle is the context of sustainable development; it is defined as, “A style of building things that keeps the future in mind. In response to the dominant model of manufacturing which uses the cheapest goods and designed for the dump, cradle to cradle design is a new way to think about how we make things for our life” (Kumar & Putnam, 2008, p.3).
The Circular Economy
A circular economy in sustainable business is, “an alternative to a traditional linear economy in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life” (Geissdoerfer, Savaget, Bocken & Hultink, 2017, p.757).
The Balanced Scorecard
The balanced scorecard is; “A performance metric used in strategic management to identify and improve various internal functions of the business and their resulting external outcomes. It is used to measure and provide feedback to organisations. Data collection is crucial to provide quantitative results, as the information gathered is interpreted by managers and executives, and used to make better decisions for the organisation” (Kaplan, 2009, p.1253).
BMW is a German automotive business which produces mini cars. BMW has the parent company “Rolls-Royce motor cars”. It has been ranked the most reputable company in the world because of the aspects and measures it has taken such as recommendations, goodwill, people’s willingness to buy and sustainability (Avery & Bergsteiner, 2011, p.11).
Cradle to Cradle Approach
As a major producer of automobiles in the automotive industry, the use of sustainability is essential. The decisions which have been made by the producers of the automobiles have to look for the ecological impact in the country and the customers. This ecological impact affects the people, places and resources which have been associated with the operations of the company. BMW has been working on the corporate social responsibility by applying “sustainable approach” in all the aspects of their business, and they intend to minimise the negative impact on the environment by using cradle to cradle approach. This helps in increasing the positivity of the business and increasing the social and environmental effects (Avery & Bergsteiner, 2011, p.11).
Cradle to cradle approach helps the manufacturers to think about the future and produce the products according to the sustainable factors. The engineers who are responsible for designing the automobiles keep the impact of sustainable production while creating the products as it helps them to make better and sustainable products which help in developing a better environmental and living standard (Kralj & Markic, 2008, p.109).
The purpose to use the cradle to cradle approach is because of the biometric approach which has been used in the cradle to cradle process. The biometric approach is sustainable, and it also considers the future generations and the current life and health standard of the customers. The c2c approach allows people to use the products naturally and healthily not only it has positive effects on the environment but also on the health of the people who are the ultimate user of the product.
The approach of c2c suggests that the automobile industry and the products of BMW should protect the ecosystem by any means while keeping in consideration a productive technical and safe metabolism for circulation of technical and organic raw material and high-quality products. It helps in maintaining the eco-system and also helps in maintaining the health standard of the people. This does not only plays an effective role in fulfilling the responsibility of the health standard of people, but also it fulfils the current regulatory requirements which have been faced by the engineering teams and businesses (Hassan, Saman, Sharif & Omar, 2012, p.293).
The Circular Economy
Sustainability is becoming essential for the successful implementation and stability of production sector. This is also becoming an important concern for the engineers and their ability to design automobiles. Sustainability in the automobile sector helps in support of the business and its growth and also helps in the efficiency of cost and reduction of risks. The better engineering methods can help the organisations to practice sustainable business practice so that a robust economy could be generated. A circular economy is necessary regarding the development of a sustainable plan and maintaining the corporate social responsibility of the company (Papasolomou & Kitchen, 2011, p.63).
A circular economy can help the business to grow and maintain new opportunities, and it helps the growth in multiple ways such as;
- It reduces waste while the production of a new automobile is in process
- It helps in eliminating and reducing the environmental impacts of the consumption and production of raw materials
- It drives greater productivity of the resources
- The circular economy also helps a particular region instead of emergency resources and scarcity issues which can be a potential problem in future (Traverso, 2013, p.n.d).
The main purpose of implementing the aspect of the circular economy in the business is because of its ability to move further towards a “circular economy” which can help to improve “resource productivity”. This can be done by keeping resources and products in use for a long period as long as they can be kept. The resources can be kept through repair, reuse, and recovery, recycling and manufacturing (Traverso, 2013, p.n.d).
The manufacturers of the circular economy tend to make products which are friendly to nature, sustainable and reusable. Not only this is for the environment overall but also for the people who would be using the products (automobiles). The responsibility of a circular economy about sustainable development is essential for the company as well as its products. Although automobile products are not recycled much the system through which they pass is, designing, retailer, and consumption, repairing and then recycling (Woodward & Guimarães, 2008, p.n.d). Through this process, BMW intends to keep concerned about the health and wellbeing of their customers as well as the environment, and it also helps the engineers to build a sustainable development plan according to current regulatory requirements. It is the responsibility of the organisations to make sure that to execute the sustainable practices, ethical measures are being followed (Woodward & Guimarães, 2008, p.n.d).
Comparison of the Two Approaches and How Well They Help To Manage the Clean Growth of the Chosen Business
To proceed with a clean growth of business according to sustainable practices based on corporate social responsibility, it is necessary to follow the sustainable business development approaches. These approaches help to develop better products which are friendly to the environment and creates ease for business leaders and engineers. The use of cradle of cradle approach and the circular economy together helps in the development of the sustainable business practice of BMW (Avery & Bergsteiner, 2011, p.5). The cradle to cradle business would help the business to look into the insights of future and develop the engineering plans for automobiles accordingly while the circular economy would help the engineers of the automobiles to develop innovative automobiles not only in terms of productivity but also in terms of sustainability. The implication of both approaches in the manufacturing of automobiles has been taken as a useful contribution in sustainable development (Avery & Bergsteiner, 2011, p.5).
The materials which are eco-efficient and eco-friendly help the engineers to use materials which are nontoxic. These help the productivity and life of the product and also in the social context, these developments help in eliminating unemployment, enhancing skills of labour in the eco-friendly sector and helping the communities in their social problems. In the eco-efficient innovative system and the approaches of sustainable development, the social dimension can also be solved out. The approaches are required to implement in such a manner that they improve sustainable development and fulfils the corporate social responsibility. The two approaches, cradle to cradle approach and the circular economy may not be the only approaches which can be used in the development system and engineering of BMW but also provides a clear framework which can be followed by the organisation by effective, sustainable development strategy.
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