Why sustainability is an essential act of self-preservation

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We did it. We jumped on the SDG bandwagon. But the reason it was possible, was because we had a clear sense of why sustainability was important to our company and the future of our business.

 

When I first entered the Aker BioMarine, I spent a lot of time listening to my colleagues, taking note of the way they explained our work on sustainability. It was simply perceived to be the right thing to do. From what I heard, I tried to grasp the essence of why we believe it’s important, and the following statement came about:

“It did not make sense to take something from the ocean to improve our health, if it was compromising the health of the oceans.”

 

This became what I refer to as the basic logic of why sustainability is key for Aker BioMarine. Furthermore, I believe it is extremely useful to identify the logic behind sustainability from within the company before setting up a system and a strategy for sustainability.

From my experience, such a statement should embody a balance between the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability, and link to the core business of the company. Same goes for the purpose that can be perceived as a refined version of this logic of why we are in business. Alongside our internal work on prioritizing a subset of the SDGs to work on, we also worked on refining our purpose.

 

Read more: What are the “SDGs” and how to use it as a competitive advantage?

 

It is important to remember that adding the SDGs to the equation is not enough to build sustainability into a competitive advantage. One has to integrate it into the everyday of one’s employees for it to drive long-term financial performance.

One of the ways we are planning to do this is by setting up a sustainability squad across departments, with sustainability ambassadors in all areas of our business. This way we will ensure that we understand the full potential of sustainability as a strategy to mitigate risks and seize opportunities across the company. Additionally it counteracts the common pitfall of sustainability becoming side-tracked and not fully integrated in the core of the business.

Without becoming too cliché, it would be enabling the organization to heal itself, by creating ownership and awareness on sustainability in every cell of the organization. From the basic understanding of having to take care of one’s own health in order to being able to productively contribute to the company’s overall purpose, to also understanding that silos is part of the past. Sustainability and digitalization alike are fields that intersect with all departments, and that needs to be co-created by engaging the entire work force. 

 

Read more: Sustainability. Our foundation.

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