All you need to know about sustainability committees

The existence of a well-structured sustainability committee serves as a critical coordinating function for your business, and can also steer a CSR strategy into a competitive advantage.

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Having sustainability committees in companies can reorient companies towards the triple bottom line - people, profit and planet. Image: Andrey_Popov /

A Sustainability Committee by simple definition is a body that is accountable for the sustainability strategy and performance of the business. Not only is it a core part of good governance in any company, its role is also to integrate both business and sustainability priorities so that the company is able to thrive.

There are several reasons why a sustainability committee is valuable. From our experience working with corporate social responsibility (CSR) managers from private and public companies, one of the biggest benefits of having a sustainability committee is that it can address all functions of a business.

The role of a CSR manager, by its nature, cuts across business operations and support functions to orient the organization towards a triple bottom line. Also known as the ‘3Ps’ for people, planet and profit, this practice of considering not just business profits but also social and environment aspects of a company’s operations is gaining momentum globally.

Members of a sustainability committee play a role as champions of CSR within the company. In fact, a good mix of coordinating executives, board-level representatives and non-executives can be a powerful force to drive genuine engagement on sustainability issues amongst senior leaders of the business.

This is important because a lack of sufficient backing from key decision-makers to develop and sustain the company’s sustainability efforts can often result in resistance from parts of the business required to report or implement the change.

Read more on how to form your own sustainability committee in the Eco-Business magazine here.

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