April 27

What is social sustainability in business?

You've probably heard that sustainability includes three pillars, also referred to as a triple bottom line, of "people, planet and profit", or social, environmental and economic factors. 

We're increasingly aware of the environmental considerations within that (e.g. climate change, air pollution, waste, biodiversity etc), as well as the economic ones.

But what are the social considerations and how can a small business take action on them within their own practices?

I find even many people who are knowledgeable about sustainability may be less clear on the social aspects, or at least not be as conversant in discussing them. So I recently ran a webinar for the Sustainable Business Network of the City of Port Phillip to discuss what social sustainability means in a business context, including:

  • The key frameworks that identify social aspects to consider, including the Sustainable Development Goals, Doughnut Economics Model and International Labour Organization.
  • A simple model of how to apply this to your business and contribute to social outcomes through employment, purchasing, partnerships and philanthropy (hint - see the image above!).
  • How to demonstrate your positive social impacts to potential corporate customers and respond to their CSR questionnaires.

It's a bite-size webinar - only 20 minutes plus Q&A. Check it out on Port Phillip's Sustainable Business Network page and if you live in the Port Phillip area, be sure to join the network and connect with your neighbours!

Watch the recording or check out the slide deck below for a quick preview.

About the author 


I believe in the power of small business to have mighty impact. After 15 years driving sustainability in corporates and government, I am bringing my expertise to support small businesses - those with the passion, innovation and agility to tackle the world's greatest challenges.


community, purchasing, social, workforce

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