What is Sustainable business strategy?

Written by Robyn Keet


The term Sustainable business strategy tends to be thrown around freely in the commercial world today. It is often referred to in marketing campaigns or investor pitches, but what does it really mean? We aim to navigate the labyrinth of sustainability-related jargon to better understand what a sustainable business strategy truly means and how it can contribute toward long-term business viability.



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Put simply, a sustainable business strategy is a framework with a prioritized set of actions to drive the company towards a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable future. It means building a business advantage through improved sustainability performance, not at the expense thereof. In fact, having a business strategy that is sustainable is so key to the longevity of a company that it should be the only option. We might then consider a “Business Strategy” and an “Unsustainable Business Strategy”.

Why is sustainability such a key part of a business strategy? To answer that question, let’s take a look at some key elements:


1. A clear vision

A sustainable business strategy aligns stakeholders with the vision and mission of the business and engrains sustainability into every part of the organization. A clearly defined and well-communicated vision ensures decisions are made using sustainability as a filter to reflect the company's core values.


2. Fundamental connection between sustainability and doing business

Deep purpose and business profitability are not opposing forces; rather, they reinforce each other to create competitive advantage. A good sustainable business strategy has its foundations rooted in the belief that incorporating sustainability leads to a more successful way of doing business, resulting in business longevity.


3. Using a materiality analysis to drive prioritization and decision-making

A data-driven approach to building up a sustainable business strategy is through a materiality analysis. No company can successfully tackle all issues that are of interest to stakeholders. The rigorous process of identifying and then prioritizing issues according to a defined framework provides great value in building a sound, sustainable business strategy.


Truly sustainable companies combine environmental, social and economic elements to drive long-term competitive advantage. A sustainable business strategy, therefore, integrates purpose and profitability to ensure more transparency, integrity and, ultimately, sustained business viability.


Convinced that acting sustainably is a more successful way of doing business? Whatever stage you are at in your journey – from establishing to actioning your sustainable business strategy – BrightWolves can provide expert guidance as your trusted partner in sustainability. Reach out to find out more!