How governance can yield sustainability
What you need to know:
- Governance establishes the rules and regulations that guide behaviour and shape outcomes.
Governance establishes environmental regulations that limit pollution and promote sustainable practices.
In recent years, sustainability has become a crucial focus for individuals, businesses, and governments. At the core of sustainability is the concept of corporate governance, which encompasses the systems and processes used to manage and direct organisations.
Achieving sustainability requires effective governance that facilitates decision-making and considers the long-term impacts of actions and policies.
Sustainability thrives when strong corporate governance structures are set up. Corporate structures reveal direction and priorities. Each organisation must customise its approach based on its business model, structure, resources, and sustainability goals. Improving corporate structures involves implementing policies and regulations for corporate governance structures and community-based initiatives.
Governance plays a critical role in sustainability in many ways.
Firstly, it establishes the rules and regulations that guide behaviour and shape outcomes.
Secondly, governance establishes environmental regulations that limit pollution and promote sustainable practices.
Businesses can implement sustainable policies that prioritise responsible resource use and waste reduction. Clear standards and expectations help advance progressive, long-term practices.
Establishing and developing sustainable standards can be challenging. Governance facilitates collaboration and coordination among stakeholders. In most cases, sustainable projects require mutual partnerships on various levels.
Effective governance structures anchor a framework for bringing diverse parties together and creating opportunities for dialogue and partnerships that drive progress toward shared sustainability goals.
Shared vision of sustainability
The importance of collaborative governance partnerships is evident in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 target areas adopted by the United Nations in 2015 to promote global development. The goals bring governments, businesses, and civil society organisations worldwide together around a shared vision of sustainability.
By raising awareness and providing direction, the SDGs aim to make the world a better place while securing the future of humankind. They are anchored on three key themes — social and economic prosperity, fairness and social equality and environmental protection, addressing matters relating to economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
Governance ensures accountability and transparency, which are components of sustainable decision-making. Audits and clear reporting standards ensure accountability, taking responsibility and help ensure sustainable environmental impacts.
Transparency, or the disclosure of information, helps build trust among stakeholders and enables informed decision-making.
Nowadays, businesses publish annual sustainability reports, while certain countries have imposed mandatory reporting standards for corporations.
Companies can implement policies and practices that reduce their environmental impact. Effective energy use in a business impacts the business’s economics. This promotes using sustainable materials and investing in renewable energy.
They can also prioritise social responsibility by supporting local communities, ensuring fair labour practices, and promoting diversity and inclusion. In addition to benefiting the environment and society, these efforts help companies build a positive reputation and boost their profitability.
Embracing governance and sustainability brings the benefit of innovation and adaptation. Both are essential for achieving long-term success and sustainable outcomes. Innovation involves the development of new technologies, processes, and practices, while adaptability enables organisations and societies to adjust to changing environmental conditions and challenges.
Effective governance structure supports innovation and sustainability by providing incentives, focusing on research and development, and promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Collaborations among businesses and individuals provide a promising space for innovation and research across multiple disciplines. This facilitates educational opportunities and better strategies for overcoming current social challenges. The Horizon 2020 Programme provides funding for research and innovation in a range of areas, from general research to specific targets.
Individuals and companies collaborate across diverse fields to promote industrial growth. The impact of such measures has made it possible to develop a strong green-tech sector that cuts across both SDGs 8 and 13.
In conclusion, with the growing importance of sustainability, governments, businesses, and civil society organisations must collaborate and establish effective governance structures that prioritise sustainability.
Mr Kimani is a member of the Institute of Certified Secretaries