A core theme of sustainability is an organisation’s resilience – its ability to ensure it has access to sufficient resources now and in the future; a workforce that can meet changing demands and a product or service that can be adapted to suit customer expectations.
Implicit in this is an organisations’ reputation as an employer and supplier, and many of the newer sustainability certification schemes focus on this. This focus is reflected in many current news stories where inappropriate behaviour from the workforce and management of some organisations has severely damaged reputation and led to a loss of market share or withdrawal of funding and contracts.
Reputations can be easily and quickly destroyed
A very recent example of this is the ongoing problems faced by Oxfam. This widely respected global organisation who have played key roles in disaster relief for over 70 years, has had its reputation and credibility severely damaged by a few individuals who have abused their position and taken advantage of the very people they were meant to be supporting.
Although limited to a few individuals, it sounds as though abuse of vulnerable people in disaster areas has been tolerated for a number of years and perhaps some have explained it away as a result of very tough living and working conditions. However, there is no getting away from the fact that this is an abuse of power by people with options against people with little or no options.
Times are changing with victims are less likely to suffer in silence
The #MeToo campaign, started as a result of harassment and abuse in the film industry, has spread worldwide and encompassed many industries and organisations. It is no longer acceptable in any walk of life to subject anyone, male or female, young or old, whatever sexual orientation, colour or belief to any sort of abuse.
A workplace where people are valued for the work that they do and the contribution they make is far more productive and happier, with workers feeling invested in the overall success of the business. Sustainability and resilience focus on promoting teamwork and cooperation; identifying opportunities to involve staff in issues other than making money increases their level of commitment and investment in the success of the organisation.
Positive conditions lead to more productive and engaged teams
Organisations wishing to clearly demonstrate their ethics should seriously consider adopting some form of sustainability reporting such as applying to be part of BCorp, which will ensure that emphasis is clearly focussed on internal relationships to ensure that bullying and harassment is not accepted in any form.
A positive reputation is essential for the success of any organisation or business, and hopefully in future more will take action to demonstrate this clearly to ensure their future success and resilience.