Profit is underexposed in sustainability

September 22, 2022

Profit is underexposed in sustainability

The importance of organisations to make profit is underexposed in the sustainability debate. Due to the enormous pressure on organisations to become sustainable, sustainability got the upper hand. Which means that costs, revenues and profit are more a result of sustainability drive than part of the equation. The core business and original goals of organisations can get out of sight. This situation is risky for the continuity of organisations and we need tot find a way to handle this.


Profit is underexposed in sustainability

Solving the profit-sustainability-puzzle isn’t easy. On a first glance profit and sustainability look like two opposites. When we look at profit and sustainability in this way, it is ‘one or the other’ and never ‘both’.

This is the start of the dilemma. And the dilemma gets tougher with the increasing pressure on sustainability. Because the logical effect of ‘one or the other’ is that with an increasing pressure on sustainability, profit gets out of sight. What can we do?


Sustainability is important

The last years and especially in the last months we have noticed that the pressure on becoming sustainable has increased. And of course, becoming sustainable is very important. That isn’t under debate, we think. At the same time organisations need to earn money. How much is an interesting question, but money is needed to pay the bills and keep the organisation going.

Through the increasing pressure on sustainability and the ‘one or the other approach’ the focus gets more and more on sustainability and less on profit. And focussing solely on sustainability is as dangerous as focussing solely on making profit. It will lead to negative side effects. In case of focussing on sustainability it will jeopardise the continuity of organisations.

(The negative side effects of focussing on only money are well known we assume)


Why not do ‘both’…

It is plausible that working on sustainability will influence the degree of profitability. But what will happen when we loosen the drive for sustainability a bit an give profit a place in the equation? What will happen when we try to balance sustainable and financial goals and results?

Maybe, sustainability and profit aren’t opposites. Our ‘one or the other approach’ can be wrong. Let’s try to change the perspective and we try to do ‘both’. Than, sustainability and profitability are part of the same equation. This is much easier to solve.

At Sustainable Transformers we know that when a balance between sustainable and financial results can be found, it will open up the possibility to secure the continuity of organisations. It will build resilience for future disruptions.


Solving the puzzle

Sustainability is therefore much more a condition for the organisation of the future than a goal in its self. The same applies to making profit. Sustainability without profitability cannot exist. Both are needed for an organisation to be truly sustainable and to be able to add value to society. That’s why we have to talk about profitability when discussing sustainability and that is not the case at the moment, at least not enough.

Solving the sustainability-profitability puzzle is like solving a cube. When you focus on one colour when solving the cube, you will not get the cube right. You need to understand the relation between the pieces of the cube in order to get all the colours right. Being sustainable and profitable at the same time can also be seen as a complex puzzle to solve. We need to take both sustainability and profitability in the equation to get a balanced result. Focussing on one or the other will not solve the puzzle. Adopt both goals into your organisation will solve the puzzle


Get some help

Connect with us to discuss your puzzle. We are happy to help you to solve it! We know it can be difficult and we have some tools that can have direct impact.


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