Family Business for Sustainable Development

Family Business for Sustainable Development

This is the first in a new series dedicated entirely to the topics of Sustainability.

Sustainability is a big topic and one that seems to be very high on the agenda for Government for businesses and for individuals.

It can be quite intimidating to know how and where to start and so in this episode I speak with Andrew Bryson who is Head of Business Transformation at FBN International.

Listen to the Episode here: 


What is Sustainability?

According to the UN’s own website, sustainability is defined as

“meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

In the show Andrew and I discuss the joint initiative between The UN and FBN-i. This has been called Family Business for Sustainable Development and you can read loads more about it here.

To help family businesses as much as possible there are ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ that you can commit to and use as a way to focus your minds on what you want to address. 

In addition “The Pledge” focusses on four key areas: 

  • Sustainable Growth 
  • Environmental Stewardship 
  • Social Inclusion 
  • Good Governance

We discuss what this means for you and your business in the episode.

How to get Started 

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and whilst aiming for something like “net zero” might seem a thousand miles away (or more) taking that first step in committing to your own sustainability targets is perhaps the most important.

There are tool kits and measurement tools that you can use to chart your progress on this and you can also use the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to assist you.

FBN and UNCTAD have put together a really useful website with guides on what to measure, what indicators to use as evidence when reporting or documenting your progress. 

Sustainability as an Opportunity

One of the key elements of embracing and dealing with change is to look at it as an opportunity. As we emerge from the difficulties of the last 14 or 15 months many of you will likely be looking at ways in which you can adapt whilst maintaining the ability to grow and make profits. 

Sustainability is a fantastic lens to use for this adaption, be that in your business model, your supply chains, your engagement with customers or how you define your purpose as a family business. 

Seeing this as an opportunity rather than a cost or an ‘inconvenience’ will help. 

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About FBN International and The UN Pledge

FBN Logo

The Family Business Network is the world’s leading family business organisation. Founded in 1989, it is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. A vibrant community of enterprising business owners, it brings together over 4,000 family from across 65 countries.

To enable members to more effectively deliver value for all of their stakeholders and create a shared prosperity, FBN developed Polaris. Launched in 2014, Polaris is FBN’s framework to deliver on the Family Business Pledge and a growing global movement of business families focused on maximising positive economic, environmental and societal impact. Polaris enables learning, innovation and co-creation to redefine success across generations.

Family Business for Sustainable Development is a partnership between FBN & UNCTAD to develop platforms, trainings and tools that advance sustainability practices of family businesses and create a shared prosperity for all. Family Businesses involved in the partnership will measure and track their progress by using FBN-UNCTAD indicators aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a universal framework, platform and language for driving change. 

You can make The Pledge by following this link

Case Studies 

A great way for family businesses to learn about how they can implement their own sustainability strategy is to learn from others experiences. FBN-i have put together 40 Case Studies here to allow you to read about what others have done.