Why is sustainability so seldom embedded at the early stages of a business startup?
Marie-Noëlle Keijzer EntrepreneurMsc, Social Entrepreneur, Experienced Executive, Climate Leader.
0) Few people know how to make viable business startup ideas, most startups are created with haste to operate as a business–and most people don’t know about other kinds of sustainability beyond the financial kind.
1) Sustainability is an ambiguous concept–even replies within this thread highlight specific views about financial sustainability, others assume it means strictly environmental sustainability, and others are familiar with looking at it as a strategic framework for social, economic, and environmental viability. Unless you’re actively discussing it with others, it’s rare for the average person to find or choose a tangible and actionable concept of sustainability.
2) Depending on the business model, it can take time for the entrepreneurial team to tie the preservation or creation of environmental benefits into the way their businesses work. Some people have trouble getting the basics to their business in the first place.
3) Sustainability in business often gets boxed up as a market of its own or department on the side rather than approached as a cross-operational/sector/team lens for strategy.
4) Legal formats for businesses (and attitudes of shareholders/board members) designed for upholding purpose over profitability are just beginning to emerge.
B-Corps, L3Cs, etc. are still very fresh innovations.
5) Prominent examples businesses that create comprehensive sustainability (creating social, economic, and environmental benefit) by virtue of their operations are currently rare.
You might find some Regenerative and Restorative Enterprises (Interface Floor’s Net-Works initiative), but permaculture principles, co-operative business models and solidarity economy approaches are rarely seen or taught in business.