Continually Improving Your Responsible Business Journey - Business in the Community

Continually Improving Your Responsible Business Journey

Post author image. Talia Simmons
Talia Simmons, Environment and Responsible Business Officer at Business in the Community (BITC), believes that responsible businesses should prioritise continuous improvement over striving for perfection.

There is no such thing as a fully responsible or neutral business, so each decision made by individuals and businesses has either a positive or a negative impact. Whilst we can make progress by switching to renewable energy and implementing equitable solutions, a fully responsible business remains a utopian concept yet to be found.

We live in a society that is filled with complexity. Navigating this as a responsible business will always leave us with unintended consequences, no matter how pure our intentions are.

This shouldn’t be an obstacle to responsible action but rather an invitation to work harder and make even more significant progress, as barriers will always be encountered throughout the journey. Even though we cannot have a fully responsible business that has no negative impacts on people or the planet, businesses can still make a more positive impact and advance society to become more responsible.

Focusing on imperfect progress

Knowing that we can’t reach perfection on each issue we choose to tackle should not be a barrier to making progress but instead an incentive. If we can’t be perfectly responsible then there is always more that we can do to be more inclusive, accessible, sustainable and biodiverse.

Focusing our time on continued improvement as individual businesses, and together as a broader society rather than reaching perfection for each issue we tackle, will allow us to maximise our impact on priority areas and strive for more significant infrastructure change to reach a responsible society. This is where focusing on imperfect progress is hugely important.

So, I encourage you to stop aiming for perfection and instead focus on the areas where you can have the greatest impact. Source your resources more sustainably, create a responsible supply chain, support local charities and communities, and start having conversations with colleagues and stakeholders on how you can support them better and be a more responsible organisation. Use your business to maximise your impact on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by setting ambitious impact targets. Whilst no business alone will put an end to society’s most significant issues, your imperfect and continued progress on these issues is invaluable.

Next steps

You can learn more by reading our toolkit on Setting Ambitious Impact Targets, looking at best practice case studies or understanding the positive impacts being responsible can have on your business with our factsheet The Business Case for Being a Responsible Business.