First, to understand the sustainability business model, we have to recognize that we all live in a closed-loop system, which we know as Earth. As such, all parts of this closed system (humans, animals, plants, ecological systems) are interdependent and must co-exist in dynamic equilibrium to survive and thrive.
Now to translate this to the level of an organization. A company is part of a greater whole that is the community it depends on for business. In addition to that, a company is also part of an even greater whole, the environment, upon which both the company and the community depend to survive.
So, the sustainable business model is founded on the principle that a company must take into account the impact of its operation on all its stakeholders. As such, in its decision-making process, a company has to ensure that its business activities are not engaging in unsustainable financial, social and environmental practices that could lead to a collapse of the systems upon which it is dependent.
The key concept to understand and remember is the complexity and interdependence of systems. No organization can operate independently from society nor the planet. So, to assess a company’s true performance, a corporate report should also include the organization’s social and environmental performance in addition to its financial performance.