Sustainability in the business perspective is a condition in which the business is able to withstand long spells of the economic setbacks. The environment and the society also lean towards having an effect on sustainability of an entity. The goals to sustainability are achieved through the interaction between the businesses and organization as the play a big role on human activities and affect development. According to the world commission on surroundings and development, sustainability can be generally defined as development that is efficient for newer generation needs without compromise of the new generation to fulfill their own needs (1987). The definition has different interpretation due to various perspectives people have on what needs to be sustained (Norrthon, 1995). The goals to sustainability should thus be carefully defined because of their uniqueness to different areas. There I a need for constant appraisal and improvement of sustainability because it is a dynamic process. Sustainability should be developed in three issues that are related closely with the environment (Welford, 1995). The environment is a critical part of the economic process requiring the little use of innate resources with little pollutants emitted to the atmosphere without many economic implications. Second issue is the equity in the economic benefits between the nations and the countries and the communities in the countries. The third issue is the long term consideration and proactive business planning and policies facing the business. For an enterprise to be successful it must come up with goals that the three issues mentioned and design proper indicators to quantify the performance to the extent the sustainability goals are fulfilled.
Characteristics of a good monitoring system
Monitoring system are those measures designed to analyze the sustainable development at all dimensions. The systems can be controlled internally and externally in their application in the different levels that include: the country, the organization or the small business. The dimensions are concerned with the profitability of the entity, its relation to the globe, the environment, the social and political all relate to the triple base line principle.
A good monitoring system should include visions and objectives that revolve around ecological, societal and economic aspects of growth. The main aim of monitoring system is to identify gap in the processes of an entity and come up with ways of rectifying them (spellerberg, 1991). Dalal-Clayton and Bass (2002) describe the values of successful checking system as a mix of interior and external controls that help self rectification and judgment. The monitoring should be motivated by policy objectives relatively than information availability. The system should be controlled into reliable framework with excellent baseline information. The framework should not be specific to one dimension but should cover all the three dimensions. For environmental monitoring, the pressure-state-response is the best way to monitor. This model defines pressure as the force that the system suffers from human activities. Reactions in this model relates to the pressure on the stakeholders in a given system. The model has been used in various fields such as the farming and land economics sector. The model also finds its application in tourism in china (Li, 2003). The effects of human activities in the tourism sector can be evaluated using this model. In industrialized countries, the framework was used in Australia and also New Zealand in condition-pressure-response model to respond to the likelihood of people to enquire about conditions of the surroundings before seeking for answers to influence force and reaction. Due to the deterioration of the environment due to the irresponsible behavior of the firms in the industrial sector has led to formation of several principles to regulate the damage and steer the world to cleanliness with less pollutant emissions. The use of global coverage initiatives has been used to monitor sustainability in all dimensions.
Features of effective indicators
Indicators are irrefutable measures that reflect changes in the proportions in a given system. The indicators should be in accordance to the objectives of the organization and are long term deliberations. The indicators are usually viewed as in adequate because of the tendency to dwell on the quantifiable quantities rather than the important qualities of a firm. Designing excellent indicators is a challenge. The indicators should produce proper impacts so the required changes can be made.
Good indicators should be comprehensible in worth and in content. They should contain easy to comprehend and execute. The indicator should be relevant to the policy. The indicator should be applicable such that the firm will be able to implement it. The indicator should be tentative and leading; the indicator should be capable of detect the problem at the right time such that the gap is filled at the right time. The character traits of a good indicator should interlink with each other such that the purpose of the indicator is met. Sustainability indicators can be designed for a wide range of purposes, the indicators can be used for social economic assessment of rural area, the policy reforms, justification of public expenses among other areas (King et all. 2000).
There numerous methods of identifying and selecting appropriate indicators for a set of objectives. The criterion used to identify the indicator: objectivity and ease of use, straightforwardness of indicator, timeliness, extent, quantification and inclusion of government devised sustainable development indicators (Herrera-Ulloa et al. 2003). Indicators are decisive determinants of the systems performance, with the right type of indicators the decision making is made simpler thus steering the organization in the right direction.
Woolworths’ company profile
The organization is Australian with a retail string operating throughout the country. The organization is successful mainly since of their active performance in the past ten years. They attract customers through a wide range of commodities to choose from at very reasonable prices for goods of good quality. The objective of the organization is to constantly upgrade their systems to suit the needs of the consumer and the staff in the organization. They also aim at improving the environment though many ways. The organization is registered in the stock exchange market and it has a variety of stocks and equal number of stock holders. Despite the economic hardships rocking the globe the financial sector has reported positive trends in the stocks. The organization continual investment in retail sector can be attributed to this positive trend.
The organization has several divisions that run differently from the main organization. The supermarket division contains a leading series that operates in every state in Australia. The super markets contain liquor stores and online stores. Woolworth superstores in Victoria are known as safe ways. The other division in Sidney and the central coast are called Flemings. The organization also has a consumer electronic store an everyday service outlet a general merchandise store, a petrol station and a hotel group.
The retail outlet has had a leadership close to that of the triple base line reporting and this has contributed significantly to the societal and ecological initiatives in the company. This has been since the year 2006.
Environmental dimensions are very important to Woolworth; the organization is always alert about the changes that take place in the global environment. These changes tend to have great effect on the planet and the ability of the planet to supply food to the population. Woolworth is a participant to the Kyoto modus operandi and participates on a regular basis to the emission trading scheme. The organization interests in the environment are serious because the adverse changes of the environment will lead to climate change thus affecting the sustainability of the company affecting its ability to produce food. The effects of the environment may cause drought or floods that may cause the food prices to go up. The increase in the food prices translates to higher prices to consumers hence a loss of customers. The water is also an essential resource to the organization because the food production in the nation takes up to 45.9% of standard water usage. The company due to the dependence on water should employ a water recycle system to cover this problem. The reduction in greenhouses the start of carbon pricing has been introduced. The cost of competitive company will influence the cost as shown :
The economic dimension is an important dimension to Woolworth, this is due to the increasing fuel and electricity costs to Woolworth. The organization has a large work force coupled with the lower prices they charge on their commodities causes the economic factors to affect the organization adversely. The developing economy has new players who venture in the same business as Woolworth creating competition which in turn reduces business. The extensive employment that Woolworth has created to the economy has caused it to suffer due to the increase in the remuneration package. This increase is estimated to 1.75million$ per annum.
In the business sector, a way of attracting the customers is to provide social services to the community as part of giving back their profits to the community. The organization should conduct a lot of activities in the community in which the divisions are located and this will enable the people in that society to want to be associated with that business. This is very good for business. The organization should have some information on the culture of the people that they have set up a division in, going against the culture of a particular society is not good for business to. Woolworth has supported several local activities from hospital appeals to charity walks donating and participating and this has contributed to some extent to the increase of the loyal customers. The loyal following comes at a higher expenditure cost but all this can be viewed as an investment.
Indicators to monitor the dimensions
With the general purpose of ensuring sustainability, the management of Woolworth had planned to reduce the carbon dioxide emission by 40% by the year 2015. The supermarkets were built with a sustainable design for conservation energy and protection of the environment. In the issue about water which is Woolworth largest resource, the organization planned under the sustainable strategies 2005-2007, the organization planned on saving point two billion liters of water annually from 2010. The company has a system to recycle the waste water. In the last year, the large water harvesting system was inaugurated and saves millions of liters of water. The food waste from recycle department saves the environment greatly and also saves the organization a lot of revenue when it comes to production. The company is trying to achieve zero food wastages by cutting down on plastic and cardboard usage while increasing store using earth energy.
The organization has become an affiliate of LBG in 2007 for providing the process of quantifying and reporting on communal behavior. The main activities in which Woolworth is involved in include responding to hospital appeals to assist kids from all over Australia and giving unsullied foods to them. The organization in collaboration with the other charity organizations has collaborated to conduct charity work all over Australia. The firm has come up with a program that that creates increases the response of climate alteration impact. This includes the green house effect, seasonal inconsistency and use of water efficiently.
This indicators show the diversity in the work force and its scope in relation to the organization. The indicator is categorized according to the age. Its aspects are in relation to the working conditions affecting the workers. The country is in an economic turmoil and there is downsizing of the labor force in many companies. The company was able to increase its work force despite this fact. More opportunities were also created through internships and apprenticeship programs.
This indicator discloses the communication that relate to product and services. Its results are incorporated in the design of the commodities the firm specialize in. its effects are related to sustainability of the environment and user safety.
This indicators show hoe the firm treats the workers with regards to human rights. The organization Woolworth upholds individual rights and all workers work under the fairest of conditions. The organization also acts accordingly in relation to the law and service to the community. They follow the highest standards in all the required fields. Woolworth follows its core values accordingly and thus its good performance.
owing to the 40% growth of Woolworth, the corporation has emerged to become a market leader. The paper discuses the environmental, societal and economic the organization has employed to ensure that it reaches the sustainability position. The factors affecting the company and preventing it from accomplishing its goals are also discussed. Sustainability is discussed and the term is used to relate to satisfaction of the human needs using resources in a manner that they aren’t depleted. The needs of the economy to have sustainable development are the requirements of the wealth of the society (Arrow et al, 2004). Woolworth is full of self awareness about the current situation, the organization is preparing for a sustainable future through enough preparation.
Annual report (2009), Woolworths Limited. Retrieved 15 January 2011
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The Sydney Morning Herald. Business Day. Retreved February 04, 2011 from the http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-business/woolworths-profit-up-128-eyes-growth-20090827-f07z.html