Sustainable Strategy to Sustainable Business: History
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Energy Efficiency is one of the key elements of the Environment-Economic aspect of the three spheres of sustainability. To make any business sustainable in the light bulb industry, it could be applied as a strategy to gain competitive advantage in the functional level. This paper investigates the market awareness of environmentally friendly products such as the energy efficient light bulb (or energy bulb) and its market availability, demand, quality and brightness, low waste (e-waste), sustainable consumption (durability), warranty, commission rate, and profitability. It also finds that energy efficiency and low waste are valuable strategies to create market demand for energy bulbs to make sustainable profit and product stewardship eventually to contribute to the e-waste management.

  • energy efficient
  • energy bulb
  • sustainable business
  • sustainable consumption

1. Sustainable Business

Businesses being very powerful institutions [1] having the responsibility to bring in changes and sustainable development throughout the society. Without sustainable development there will be downturn for the environmental and economic sector [2]. The word “sustainable” now goes hand in hand with current business practices. Even the word sustainability is referred to by a Zurich-based asset management firm as another business viewpoint which is about long-term shareholders’ value orientation and dealing with all the risks that come with the development in every sector [3] such as long-term challenges of environmental degradation [4] and dealing with different social problems [5]. There are many theories for implementing sustainability but a thorough procedure of any kind has not yet been implemented [6][7]. However, it does not indicate improbability as [8] has shown its gradual appearance in prevailing markets. Development of technologies blending in to the business competitive environment [9] and innovativeness are some of these reasons for a sustainable business to work, while earning profit remains the primary motivation. The rapidly changing business and innovative environment [10] are pushing for increased investment in sustainable innovation across industries to establish successful sustainable business.

2. Sustainable Strategy

As the countries are facing a growing demand of merchandise and limited resources, businesses need to pursue a sustainable growth and ensure maximum efficient resource usage for their own benefit. Despite being fairly expensive, customers are now accepting the energy bulb for its nature of energy efficiency [11]. The issues regarding sustainability should also be incorporated in formulating a strategy against the competitors [12][13] whereas a strategy is a specific ‘maneuver’ intended to outfit an opponent or competitor [14]. Study [15] referred to sustainable strategy as the means to counter the environmental issues and to have a responsibility of the products’ environmental impact along the products’ life cycle. To formulate sustainable strategy, short-term orientation should be avoided [16] and focus should be given on the triple bottom line; economic, environmental and social goals [17].
Energy efficient technology can be stated as the result of sustainable strategy. This technology contributes to lower energy consumption and low level carbon-di-oxide emission [18]. Unless different aspects of sustainability are integrated properly, the whole strategy will ultimately become a burden to the business [19]. As energy consumption in the commercial and residential sector is now higher than ever [20], different countries have taken steps to make the people more susceptible to energy efficiency through different projects [21]. Countries such as the United States, India [22], China [23], the United Kingdom, Germany [24] and many others have already taken several strategies to prove their prioritization of sustainable products.

3. Sustainable Product

With the growing concerns among customers about the environment and among the companies regarding the scarcity of non-renewable resources, the term “sustainable product” is getting fairly common. Normally, product means anything that can be “touched, stored and owned” and there must be other criteria such as quality, price, materials etc. to be a product [25]. Besides all these, a sustainable product also incorporates the concept of sustainability; such as including environmental factors [26]. Sustainable product is a means to bring sustainable development to the “existing dynamics” [27].
The energy bulb is a great example of sustainable product and is consistently in great demand for its multiple advantages. One of the reasons for its being popular is not having any significant changes in the structure and other characteristics [28]. A household with comparatively younger generations seeks environmental advantages through the energy bulbs. On the other hand, comparatively older generations seek financial or monetary benefit through sustainable products and benefit is ensured to both the parties (buyer and seller) as well as to the environment [24][25][29].

4. Sustainable Consumption

The trend of consumption does not follow a universal pattern and depends on different socio-economic and psychological factors [30]; like monetary value, conveniences, norms, and even takes into account customers’ resistance to change [31]. Consumption thus creates a distinctive social identity [32] which often acts like a barrier. Sustainable consumption breaks that barrier and represents a larger community. Sustainable consumption was defined by [33] as utilizing the products and services to fulfill the need, maintaining a standard lifestyle without wasting the valuable resources and keeping the waste and toxic byproducts to the lowest level possible. It can be used as an effective “policy tool” for the government to promote sustainable products [34], as only 10% of the 40% sustainable consumption supporters are actually active in real life [35].
Sustainable consumption such as using energy bulbs on a daily basis is eco-friendly and saves hugely on resources. It meets all economic, social and environmental factors required by consumers [36]. Switching to LED bulbs ensures higher luminous efficiency; higher (3 years) warranty period [37], a wide range of alternatives and about 80% energy conservation [38] which would otherwise be doubled in 4 to 5 years [39]. So, all these factors weigh in the effectiveness of sustainable consumption through energy bulb.

5. Profit

Profit is an essential part of any businesses and the core incentive of any businessperson. There are many aspects embedded in the whole concept of profit; such as in the form of economic, social and environmental aspects [40]. Profit is defined as surplus over the cost of production [41]. Anything which is proven to be profitable is valuable [42]. Every business concept is about earning profit and sustainability is not that different. Experts emphasized profit matters such as volume of sales [43], large volume and profit margin and globalization in relation with profit and volume [44]. This increased profit margin and commission rate act as the incentives to the sellers to focus more on the energy bulb.

6. Low Waste

Waste, the unwanted byproducts generated from the production process and the discarded human materials after consumption are the main subject matters. The waste around us produces malodorous odors and deadly diseases. Additionally, waste negatively affects the aesthetic appeal of our precious environment [45]. Although there are multiple reasons for these waste generations, uncontrollable resource usage is hugely responsible for it. Now, the total resource usage is about 7 times more than the usage back in 1950 according to [46]. Switching to a more efficient sustainable product would reduce more waste [47]. The efficient use of the resources, such as using the LED bulbs, would ensure a higher quality standard, lower overhead cost and minimum waste generation [48]. This progression towards sustainable products would reduce the waste as well as the materials required for production from 4 to 20 times [49]. E-waste is also a great concern in today’s technology world. Thus, sustainable and environment-friendly products such as the energy bulb would thus keep the waste to a minimum level.
Several business and sustainability factors are identified from this literature review. They are Sustainable Business, Sustainable Product, Sustainable Strategy, Sustainable Consumption, Profit, and Low Waste. Strategies are shaped by distinctive competencies (the core activities a company performs using resources and capabilities) in value creation through low cost and differentiation which eventually achieve superior profit. [50]. Likewise, sustainable business is facilitated by sustainable products and sustainable consumption whereas profit and low waste are shaped by sustainable strategy. 

This entry is adapted from the peer-reviewed paper 10.3390/su132413791

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