In 2024, what importance will sustainability hold?Corporate sustainability is not just about ensuring the long-term viability of a business. It also encompasses the impact that companies have on the environment and society. Sustainability in business is about managing these impacts positively, thus addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as climate change, income inequality, depletion of natural resources, human rights issues, fair working conditions, and pollution.

Throughout 2023, Intuition launched a series of polls to our online audience. We asked various questions on different topics such as learning strategy and learning preferences. One specific area we looked at was ‘the year ahead’. We wanted to gain an understanding of our audience’s opinion on what they expect in business in 2024. In the below poll, we asked the question: In 2024, what importance will sustainability hold in your organization?

It must be noted that sustainability in business is not just a philanthropic exercise. As renowned Harvard Business School Professor Rebecca Henderson notes, doing well financially and doing good are intertwined – successful business strategies encompass both. This is the essence of the triple bottom line concept, which suggests that organizations should focus not just on profits, but also measure their environmental and social impact.

What importance will sustainability hold; Why sustainability is indispensable

Sustainability is not just about driving social and environmental change. It significantly contributes to an organization’s overall success. It might seem counterintuitive that investing more money on sustainable business practices can boost a company’s profitability. However, studies reveal that the most sustainable companies are also the most profitable.

Companies with high Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings consistently outperform the market in both medium and long term. While sustainability strategies might require an investment in the short term, they yield long-term benefits. This is further corroborated by our recent poll, where a significant 30% of respondents considered sustainability to be “business critical.”

What importance will sustainability hold; Benefits of adopting sustainability in business

Protecting brand and mitigating risks:

  • Implementing a sustainable strategy that protects the environment and workers shields organizations from damaging incidents and potential public relations disasters.

Creating a competitive advantage:

  • Companies that are purpose-driven attract a motivated, skilled workforce, driving financial success. As per a recent study, 89% of executives believe an organization with shared purpose will have greater employee satisfaction.

Catering to the market for sustainable goods:

  • One study found that 73% of global consumers are willing to change their consumption habits to lessen their impact on the environment, and sustainable product sales have grown by nearly 20% since 2014.

Driving change through cooperative action:

  • Purpose-driven companies working together to address global issues have experienced great success. An example of this is one MNC’s commitment to using only palm oil from certified sustainable sources.

The role of Learning and Development (L&D)

The L&D department plays a crucial role in supporting a company’s sustainability efforts. L&D can ensure consistency of practice, leverage technology for scale, measure impact through learning analytics, and respond to rapid changes. The alignment of L&D with the needs of the business is crucial for a successful sustainability program.

Driving sustainability initiatives

  • To implement sustainability initiatives effectively, it is essential to create a culture of “what can we do?” Asking employees for input on areas for improvement can provide valuable insights. Building sustainability practices and learning into onboarding processes ensures every employee understands the focus on sustainability from the beginning. Hosting ‘lunch-and-learn’ sessions with experts or video screenings can also be helpful.

Implementing immediate changes

  • Implementing immediate changes signals to employees that the organization is serious about reducing its impact. Creating a committee, making concrete changes, transitioning to a paperless office, offering “green” days, incentivizing ride-sharing and public transit, using geofencing to send employees reminders, evaluating supply chains, and encouraging employee ownership of sustainability are some steps that can be taken.

Communicating the change

  • Learning is crucial at all stages of implementing sustainability. Using video learning and gamified elements can help employees understand their impact. Role-playing can help employees problem-solve issues that arise around sustainability.


Sustainability has become a crucial element in any organization’s successful strategy.
By integrating sustainability into business operations, organizations can achieve success because of, rather than in spite of, sustainability.

The results from our recent poll, indicating the importance of sustainability in organizations in 2024, are a testament to this.

By Ruairi O'Donnellan of Intuition Publishing