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International Warehouse Logistics Association

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Sustainability FAQ

Sustainability Council Questions

Questions & Answers

What is sustainability?

There is no single established definition for “sustainability”. The IWLA council will help you decide how to best define it to meet your organization’s needs. Sustainability is different from the environmental movement in that it recognizes the need for a healthy economy. 

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How can a business be more sustainable?

Optimizing the economic, social and environmental needs of a business in a way that meets the company’s immediate needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Sustainability helps us understand the interdependencies between the economic social and environmental demands faced by every business in a way that allows us to make better decisions for our employees today and in the future. 

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What is the importance of sustainability in business today?

Sustainability is no longer a fringe issues. The fastest growing segment of the energy sector is wind power, in the travel industry, its eco-tourism; in the investment community, it’s socially responsible investments; in agriculture, it’s organic farming.

However it is defined, it is becoming clear that sustainability has a tangible bottom line impact on today’s businesses and sustainability initiatives constantly reveal new sources of competitive advantage to their champions. More and more these initiatives are having a defining impact on how businesses think, act, manage and compete.

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Why should your organization make “sustainability” a strategic objective?

Top five reasons for making sustainability a strategic objective:

  1. Sustainability affects all aspects of a company’s operations, from development, manufacturing, sales, support and culture.
  2. Sustainability creates value over the short and long term.
  3. Stakeholders want to engage with companies that have sustainability initiatives.
  4. Solutions to the challenges of sustainability are interdisciplinary.
  5. Sustainable environments are more efficient, safer and produce cost savings over the long-term. 

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What are the indirect benefits of sustainability?

  • Differentiate your company.
  • Sidestep future regulation.
  • Attract and retain the best employees.
  • Improve your image with shareholders and the public.
  • Reduce legal risk and insurance costs.
  • Provide a higher quality of life for communities and employees. 

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What are the indirect losses of a non-sustainable environment?

  • Liability for pollutants.
  • Supply chain inefficiencies.
  • Legal problems.
  • Damaged brand image/poor public perception.
  • Unattainable to certain markets.
  • Higher operational costs. 

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