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Sustainable Development: What is it and how to be a sustainable company?

Today, sustainable development is a key factor that companies apply in order to contribute to the goals of the 2030 Agenda. A company must not only be successful economically, but also ecologically and socially.

For a company, contributing to society and the environment is fundamental because they play an important role in sustainable development. But what is a sustainable company? Below we will explain in more detail what you need to know about this topic.

What are sustainable development companies?

Simply put, a sustainable company is one that, in addition to being concerned about the economic aspect, is also concerned about contributing to environmental and social issues.

But why did we mention the 2030 Agenda before? Well, the 2030 Agenda is an action plan designed and approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, which aims to guide the decisions of the different social and governmental entities to achieve economic, social and environmental stability in the 15 years following its approval. Therefore, the processes applied by a sustainable company contribute positively to the fulfillment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to a report conducted by the European Climate Foundation in 2019, Spain ranks first among the European Union countries that comply with a good implementation of plans adapted to fight climate change.

Every company must have a sense of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with the environment. Therefore, they must have sustainable business, environmental and social practices.

The most sustainable companies in Spain

In order to have a better perspective of what sustainable companies are, we will mention which companies have a higher Dow Jones Sustainability Index, this measure applies different formulas together to measure different types of indexes, such as environmental, economic and social, and process them all into the same general sustainability index. It is worth mentioning that the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is only applicable for listed companies. According to this study, the Spanish companies with the highest sustainability index in 2020 were:


BBVA has a very strong commitment to the environment, and they have made a number of announcements and published several articles where they express their interest in investing in Sustainable Development for the fulfillment of the SDGs.

“One of BBVA’s six strategic priorities is to help our customers transition to a sustainable future” – Ricardo Laiseca, Head of BBVA’s Global Sustainability Office.

BBVA has made several announcements about projects and goals that they plan to meet in the near future in order to contribute to global sustainability, among those announcements we find that:

  • All BBVA cards will be made with recyclable materials by 2023.

  • Stop financing coal companies.

  • Channel sustainable financing to 200 billion euros.

  • Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Santander Bank

Banco Santander also appeared on the list of companies with the highest sustainability index. This company has received several awards for its sustainability and the contribution it makes to the environment and society. Some of these contributions to meeting the SDGs by Santander are:

  • Volunteering at the national level for different sustainable projects.

  • In June, Santander made 1.3 million euros available to social economy projects through a solidarity fund.

  • 58% of the energy used by the company comes from renewable sources.

  • Project to reach 100% of renewable energy used in the company by 2025.


CaixaBank takes the environment and society very seriously. This company has great innovations in favor of the environment that have led it to be one of the most sustainable companies in the world. Among its contributions and projects we have:

  • 80% reduction of its carbon emissions between 2009 and 2019.

  • First Ibex 35 bank to completely reduce its carbon emissions.

  • 99.34% of the energy consumed by the bank is renewable.

  • 3,263 million euros invested and allocated to renewable energies.

How to lead your company to sustainability?

Now that we know what corporate sustainability is and why it has to be adapted to contribute to the fulfillment of the goals of the 2030 Agenda, we will mention how you can make your company have good sustainability indexes, so that you can take it into account when implementing actions to improve your sustainability index:

  1. Use renewable energies

This is perhaps the most used step by everyone, and it is essential for your company to start being sustainable. The use of renewable energies allows that there are not so many CO2 emissions, unlike traditional energies.

When you use renewable energies you not only contribute to the objectives proposed by the UN, but also your company becomes more consumer friendly. Concern for the environment is a responsibility that we must all assume, and for consumers this is increasingly clear, so a consumer will be more attracted to a company that contributes to the care of the environment than one that does not.

  1. Use environmentally friendly materials

Another great way to start being a sustainable business is to use materials that help the environment. Eco-friendly materials are recognized because they greatly reduce your environmental pollution levels.

For example, an action as simple as reducing the use of paper, or exchanging plastic cups for cardboard or aluminum cups, is already an important contribution to the environment, so it is a great start to have a sustainable development within your company.

  1. Supporting inclusion and diversification

Let us remember that sustainability is not only based on the environment, but also on social contribution. It is well known that the struggle for gender equality around the world is very important, for this reason the 2030 Agenda aims to achieve gender equality.

Having inclusive policies in your company will contribute to global sustainability, and gender equality is vital to achieve a peaceful world, where there is no inferiority or discrimination towards any gender.

  1. Organize and sort waste

In order to make better use of waste, it is necessary to classify and organize it in an efficient manner. This classification contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gases, as well as reducing the amount of waste materials that can be reused in the future.

Organizing and classifying waste allows your company to support business sustainability, thus, not only contributing to the environment, but also allowing you to have a cleaner conscience since you will know that you will be contributing to a common good.

  1. Promoting sustainable thinking

If you do not promote a sustainable work culture, all the work you do to make your company sustainable will be half-hearted. One of the most important points to take into account for your company to be sustainable is that not only you must contribute to it, but the whole company must make an effort to contribute to the social, environmental and business sustainability of the company.

Fostering this mentality will make the company to be under a sustainable environment that can benefit society and the environment and, in this way, will also be benefiting the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

  1. Resource management

Implementing a plan for good resource management is a great way to contribute to financial sustainability. Excessive use of financial resources in a company can significantly affect the operation and development of the company, so having a plan in place to manage and leverage these financial resources can help your company optimize its financial processes, reduce operating costs and propel the company into a sustainable world.


Sustainability in a company is vital for the world and for the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda. Let us not forget that the planet is our home, and that we must all contribute to preserve it. It is everyone’s responsibility to apply sustainability in our lives and in companies so that we can improve and reduce the environmental and social problems we are currently experiencing. Feel free to visit our website to learn more about our business services, at TAS Consulting we are committed to business sustainability!

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