• Pricing
  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Sustainability
  4. Why Is Sustainability in Business Important?
Sustainability series header 1

Why Is Sustainability in Business Important?

by Olivia Baker

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.

With just 100 companies causing the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, the impact of sustainability in businesses can’t be ignored.

Human Impact


It’s without a doubt that people have the biggest impact on and responsibility for the environment, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that human emissions have caused almost all global warming since 1850.

So, what happened in the mid-eighteenth century? The Industrial Revolution took the world by storm, and since then, the carbon dioxide present in the Earth’s atmosphere has risen by over 50%, and the average global temperature has increased between 1°C and 1.2°C (or 33.8°F and 34.2°F).

According to an article from Our World in Data, “a changing climate has a range of potential ecological, physical and health impacts, including extreme weather events (such as floods, droughts, storms, and heatwaves); sea-level rise; altered crop growth; and disrupted water systems.”

Impact of Sustainability in Business


Aside from the impact of human activity on climate change, a study shared by The Guardian found that 100 companies are responsible for over 70% of all greenhouse gas emittions since 1988. So, the question is: What are businesses doing exactly that negatively impact the natural environment?

  • The physical building and infrastructure with its embedded carbon footprint
  • Land depletion, destruction, or imposition on the natural environment
  • Energy consumption, including heating and cooling
  • The resources and raw materials required to do business
  • Energy consumption associated with refining resources and raw materials to make an end product
  • Manufacturing waste
  • Transport and logistics
  • Operational and office waste, including paper and material wastage

Besides these, there are other potential ill-effects of business on the environment, known as “social costs,” which include noise, pollution, traffic, and visual blight. Keeping all of this in mind, businesses shouldn’t just look at the impact they have on their immediate environment. It’s important for them to take a cradle-to-cradle perspective of their activities—from infrastructure to waste management

Importance of Business Sustainability


With the global climate crisis looming, clearly shown by increasingly extreme weather patterns, the stark reality of the rapid extinction of species, rising food insecurity, and widening disparities between rich and poor, ‌sustainability must be addressed.

It’s clear that businesses and the people they serve hold the greatest leverage—and power—in driving the sustainability agenda, considering that only 100 companies are responsible for over 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s increasingly important to look at how our business practices impact the environment and what we can do to ensure a healthy world for future generations. While we may not have solutions to all parts of the overall problem (yet), everyone can do something and there are already a myriad of different solutions to parts of the problem.

For instance: I you want to get one step closer to sustainability in business, you could give electronic signatures a try. With them, you’ll reduce the amount of paper and ink used in your business and get contracts signed faster—it’s a win-win! Try them out for yourself today with Smallpdf’s eSign!

Olivia Baker
Olivia Baker
Content Writer