Sustainability in this context refers to activities that do not have negative effects on the economic, social and natural environment surrounding an organization and guarantee the organization a greater future (Grant, 2009). The need for sustainability in organizations has risen, owing to the increased market demand for responsibility. Most organizations today manifest principles of sustainability in their various business activities. The principles of sustainability are manifested not only in profit-making organizations but also in non-profit making organizations such as Community Mutual organization. This paper, therefore, examines how the principles of sustainability would manifest themselves in the market and the marketing and planning operations of a Community Mutual organization.
The Concept of Sustainability
Sustainability, as explained earlier refers, to operations that build and maintain sustainable economic, social and natural environments. Thus, the concept of sustainability links to the economic performance of an organization, to the health of human beings and the stock of natural resources in the long term (Dunphy et al, 2003). An organization that upholds these three principles is termed sustainable organization. Economic sustainability implies the application of various organizational strategies that lead to the utilization of available resources to the best advantage. This is done in the most efficient responsible way to ensure long-term benefits. Environmental sustainability implies the movement towards the use of renewable rather than non-renewable resources and the minimization or elimination of polluting and hazardous wastes. Social sustainability, on the other hand, refers to creating and maintaining quality of life for all. By respecting ethical principles while dealing with human beings and working towards economic and environmental sustainability, an organization is already working towards social sustainability (Wells, 2010). Generally, a Community Mutual organization manifesting these three principles is said to embrace sustainability.
Markets and marketing
Increasingly, customers tend to be favoring business organizations with a good reputation for quality goods and services (Wells, 2010). Just like with profit-making business organizations, a Community Mutual organization’s community wants to be sure that the organization operates in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Such an organization can manifest the principles of sustainability by adapting and respecting the needs of the market or the society in which it operates. This can be achieved by creating strong relationships with customers, other organizations, with the community and with staff. The organization should create and support social justice while dealing with all stakeholders. The rights of all stakeholders should be upheld and all people should be treated equally and fairly. Also, the community mutual organization should avoid actions that may harm or damage people or the environment either directly or indirectly. This implies showing moral and ethical responsibilities when dealing with people and the environment (Wells, 2010).
By upholding the principles of sustainability, a Community Mutual organization can be able to maintain old customers and to identify new markets for products and services (Wells, 2010). The organization can be able to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the targeted consumers or group and use that information to formulate effective solutions, products, and services. These needs can be manifested in customer preferences and the purchasing criteria of the consumers in other organizations. Further, the organization could enjoy an improved ability to attract and build efficient supply chain relationships with like-minded organizations.
A Community Mutual organization can manifest the principles of sustainability in two key areas. The first area is to focus on human sustainability (Dunphy et al, 2003). This involves accepting responsibility for the process of upgrading the knowledge and skills of employees. An organization can achieve this by setting up a system for providing continuous education and training to employees within the organization. This process can help a Community Mutual organization to show commitment to the needs of individual workers and to show value for them. Upgrading of knowledge and skills of the workers means developing the intellectual and social capital of the workforce which is essential for better performance of the organization in the future. If the Community Mutual organization embraces this principle, it will be better positioned to exert influence on the key participants in the industry (Dunphy et al, 2003).
Secondly, the Community Mutual organization can manifest principles of sustainability by focusing on ecological sustainability (Dunphy et al, 2003). This involves ensuring that natural resources used as inputs are economically recycled or the end product is released to the environment in a form that is not destructive to the environment. An organization upholding this principle becomes an active promoter of ecological sustainability values. By doing so, a Community Mutual organization can build its reputation in the society and be in a good position to influence key participants in the industry, enhance restructuring in the market and develop community values and facilitate the emergence of a sustainable society. (Dunphy et al, 2003). Also, the organization is in a position to use its influence to promote positive sustainability policies on part of the government.
Dunphy, D. C. & Andrew, G. & Suzanne, B. (2003) ‘The sustaining corporation’ In:
Organizational change for corporate sustainability: a guide for leaders and change agents of the future / Dexter Dunphy, Andrew Griffiths, and Suzanne Benn. London: Routledge
Grant, J. (2009), The green marketing manifesto, London: John Wiley & Sons
Wells, (2010), Sustainability in Australian Business: Fundamental Principles and Practice,
Sydney: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Limited
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