Government initiatives and market pressures are pushing companies to commit to sustainability. But is 'sustainability' just another political buzzword, or is it something more substantial? And is it a viable option for a commercial organisation?

In business terms, sustainability means considering the environmental and social impacts of commercial activities, while at the same time maintaining good economic performance.

A sustainable business:
• increases profitability by making more efficient use of resources
• prevents harmful and potentially irreversible effects on the environment
• responds to the needs of society, including staff, suppliers and the local community.

Keeping these three sustainability principles in balance brings real business benefits. It:
• demonstrates corporate social responsibility
• positions the company to win more work
• brings financial growth through more efficient procedures and use of resources
• improves corporate image
• maintains a competitive advantage
• reduces the risk of fines and adverse publicity.