The Drivers and Barriers on your Road to Sustainability: Make Sustainability the Heart of Every Business

A CEO's perspective on making sustainability the new normal.

Understanding the critical importance of sustainability is straightforward for most of us entrepreneurs. But deciphering what to do and how to get started is often more complex. How can we swiftly transition towards becoming sustainable businesses that encompass ecological, social, and financial considerations? These questions are ones that businesses worldwide grapple with regularly. Given the European goal to slash our carbon footprint by 55% in less than 7 years, the scenario is rapidly shifting from incentivisation to enforcement.  Therefore, it is crucial for us to actively pursue a course of action that guarantees the continuity of our businesses and the well-being of people on this planet.

The Profitability of Transparency

As the impacts of climate change become more palpable, adaptation is no longer optional. As leaders, we will be held accountable if our actions – or lack thereof – regarding climate change are not transparent. Yet, the journey to sustainable entrepreneurship is easier said than done. As expectations rise, it can be easy to become disheartened due to the manifold challenges this path presents.

I want to emphasize something: sustainable business is good business. On all levels, economical, social and ecological.

When it comes to sustainability, the more we invest in it, the better the returns we reap, making it good for business. However, many businesses are deterred by the financial requirements of implementing sustainable practices. Despite the overwhelming advantages, the focus often incorrectly remains on the perceived increased costs and potential profit dip, rather than on the long-term gains.

Overcoming Misconceptions and Challenges

This is one of the numerous consequences of misinformation. While it’s not about pointing fingers, it’s critical to acknowledge that many businesses lack the knowledge or skills to effectively adopt sustainable measures. This is often due to misconceptions and the perceived effort and time needed for more sustainable operations. While many companies aspire to become more sustainable, without a clear path to start, these intentions remain unfulfilled.

It’s also important to remember that we’re not alone in this journey. Consumers today also grapple with understanding sustainability. They often see it as an all-or-nothing approach. The reality is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It requires a collective effort from the entire market to make a lasting impact. Past instances of greenwashing have unfortunately led to mistrust among consumers, causing them to question the authenticity of a company’s sustainability claims.

Knowledge is power: Our Research Initiative

To address these obstacles, my team at The Ecological Entrepreneur is conducting research in partnership with Antwerp Management School and the University of Antwerp. We aim to identify the major hurdles and find practical solutions for businesses to transform to sustainability.
If you’re interested in participating or contributingplease fill out our survey!

Let’s make sustainability the norm, not the exception. It’s time to make sustainability an integral part of our business models.

Picture of Sebastiaan De Block

Sebastiaan De Block

We bring ecology and economy together for your organisation! Choose your sustainable future.