What is ‘people sustainability’ and how can your business benefit from it

people sustainability

Over the last number of years, there has been a seismic shift in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a remote work revolution, and thanks to technological advances, this transition to working from home was seamless. Whilst these tools were there to allow for this shift, the approach and policies to people management were not yet well-established. 

As the pandemic went on, increased regulation and demographic changes placed more pressure on businesses to create new social contracts with their supply chain partners, teams, and communities. The idea of ‘people sustainability’ very much relates to building the workforce fit for the future; it is the intersection of corporate responsibility and employee engagement. Keep reading to learn more about people sustainability and how organisations can benefit from it. 

What is ‘people sustainability’? 

In business, ‘people sustainability’ refers to treating people responsibly by valuing their development and contributions and caring for their mental health and well-being, both outside and within the organisation, as a means to protect and preserve the environment for future generations. 

It is a concept all about managing an organisation’s human capital to drive long-term success and viability. Sustainable people management entails focusing on retention, employee engagement development, and retention and making sure the organisation’s staff is inclusive, diverse, and adaptable. With people sustainability, a business prioritises its operations’ social, economic, and environmental impacts and decisions to encourage long-term growth, profitability, and sustainability. 

The big objective with people sustainability is to positively impact the environment and society whilst ensuring financial prosperity and business growth and success. Implementing such initiatives can be as simple as introducing employee well-being programmes, community engagement and outreach, and sustainable practices that consider the needs of people and the planet. 

What does a people sustainability strategy look like?

For a business to enhance people sustainability, the organisation must consider the experiences and policies of people across their complete value chain. This includes suppliers’ employees, contingent workers, team members, and people in their communities. An effective people sustainability strategy can help businesses to drive their outcomes, enhance ESG metrics, and improve people’s lives. Businesses can focus their efforts on people sustainability by providing upskilling opportunities for their employees. 

Fortune finds that 85 million jobs worldwide will be unfilled by 2030 as a result of skills shortages. Therefore, organisations should develop people sustainability through reskilling and upskilling to ensure they are equipped with the tools required to grow as the business continues to evolve. In saying that, they should go further than upskilling their own people by investing in underserved and underrepresented talent tools to help these groups acquire the skills they need to fill roles. Additionally, businesses should focus on making their business networks and supply chains more equitable. 

Regulatory bodies and governments are increasingly requiring businesses to take accountability for how workers are treated across their entire supply chains. The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act is one of these laws that is coming into effect this year. The goal of this law is to protect and improve human rights and the environment by making sure of compliance with basic human rights standards and prohibiting forced labour and child labour. Finally, businesses looking to engage in people sustainability should look to create a people-first approach to business. 


In order to build engagement and manage a team of people sustainably, it is important to treat people with respect, value their contributions and abilities, and treat them as the basis of sustainability. It involves offering them decent and adequate human-centric work conditions like development, health, and DEI considerations and policies. Start your business sustainability journey today by enrolling in one of our business sustainability courses to learn how to adopt more responsible operations but also foster a supply chain that prioritises diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Share via:

Latest Insights

Diploma in Business Sustainability

Want to gain a comprehensive understanding of sustainability best practices and get equipped with the practical knowledge needed to lead sustainability initiatives at your organisation?