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20 April 2023

Strategies for Empowering Growth and Sustainability

Jairek Robbins


Driving Sustainable and Inclusive Growth for Everyone


As a business owner or executive, it is increasingly becoming important to shift your focus away from just making profits to having an impact on society. This shift became pronounced at the height of the pandemic when consumers put the spotlight on what different companies were doing to help their employees and communities during that trying time.

This expectation that business should be meaningful and impactful to the community and world has now become entrenched, and there is an expectation that businesses have a duty to operate in a way that drives sustainable and inclusive growth for everyone. In this post, we discuss how digitization can help push this agenda.

Access to New Markets

Let’s face it, people go into business to fulfill a need by availing a product or service that solves a real challenge of the target market. If the goods and services provided by businesses solve real problems, then it is incumbent upon the business to reach as many people with its products and services as possible.

Digitization can make this happen, for example through ecommerce marketplaces. By leveraging those digital platforms, businesses can sell their products and services to customers in geographically diverse locations. This can help all those beneficiaries to grow in a sustainable way.
For example, a company making superior energy storage batteries to support renewable energy systems relying on wind or solar energy can help millions in different countries to shift away from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas which have been proven to be very damaging in terms of accelerating climate change.

Reducing Transaction Costs

Another way through which businesses can support sustainable growth and inclusiveness is by leveraging digitization to reduce transaction costs. In the past, when someone wanted to import a commodity, they had to incur hefty charges to transfer the payment from their own bank to several intermediate banks before reaching the beneficiary’s bank.

Today, many digital payment platforms make the payment process quick, seamless and affordable. This reduction in transaction costs makes a lot more ordinary people able to buy products from around the globe and have them delivered to their doorsteps.
The question that you therefore need to ask yourself as a business owner or executive is, are you doing enough to tap digital payment systems to enable your clients to incur as minimal transaction costs as possible?

Cutting Carbon Footprints

As we move towards attaining the different climate change-related goals, companies have the obligation to reduce the carbon footprint of not just their operations but also of the life cycle of the products and services that they offer to the market.

This is no mean task, but digitization can help in several ways to attain this objective. For example, going paperless is one easy way to reduce the carbon footprint of companies.

Another way is to leverage circular economy principles in order to attain net-zero carbon goals. Digitization can be a powerful tool in this quest, by for example enabling companies to create systems to trace where they source their raw materials to ensure they are produced sustainably, and then designing their own production processes with an emphasis on reducing waste, making reuse possible and finally having systems to recycle the products once they reach the end of their useful lives.

Boosting Inclusiveness

Digitization can also help companies to support the participation of disadvantaged groups in the market. For example, companies can create systems to source raw materials directly from disadvantaged women in developing countries so that those groups cut out exploitative middlemen who pay producers of raw materials extremely low rates.

Minority-owned businesses can also be given a leg up through the use of digital tools. This can boost their competitiveness and increase their chances of thriving in the highly competitive business landscape.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises can especially benefit from digitization in order to drive sustainable growth and inclusiveness for everyone. These businesses are particularly vulnerable to shocks, such as pandemics and economic downturns. When digital tools are leveraged to identify and support these businesses, sustainable growth whose effects trickle down can be realized.

Easing Networking

As a business owner or executive, you can contribute to making sustainable growth and inclusiveness for all possible by leveraging digital tools to facilitate networking through which cutting-edge technical know-how and knowledge can be shared.

For example, open-source AI platforms are making it possible for developers to work collaboratively and come up with digital solutions to real-life challenges.

For long, businesses have grappled with the challenge of counterfeiting to no avail. The pharmaceutical industry has shown that by collaborating and licensing companies in diverse countries to make generic versions of their drugs, a win-win outcome is possible.
As a business owner, how can you make use of digitization to ease networking in a way that transfers knowhow and new knowledge so that your company benefits while also contributing to sustainable growth and inclusiveness for everyone?

Making the paradigm shift to start looking at driving sustainable growth and inclusiveness for everyone is not an easy move to make, but it is the only way if you would like your business to survive these rapidly changing times. Paying more attention to the impact of your business does not have to come at the expense of company profits. On the contrary, doing so benefits the bottom line in a way that is sustainable. For example, switching to renewable energy in order to reduce the carbon footprint of your business results in lower energy costs in the long term, and this energy self-sufficiency gets rid of some of the shocks to operations resulting from depending on the grid for all your power needs. The ball is in your court as a business owner. Will you rise up to the challenge?

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