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Caring for future generations

Economic sustainability 

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Any business, even non-profit organisations, must earn enough money to pay its costs and to invest for the future. Public companies must also pay their shareholders a dividend as a return on the money those shareholders have invested in the company, or re-invest money in the company so that the value of their shares rise. To ensure economic sustainability, all sensible businesses must plan for their economic future by

  • building their assets
    - the quality and expertise of staff
    - offices, plant and equipment
  • building the reputation of their business, products and brands with consumers and stakeholders;
  • planning their finances
    - how much money they borrow
    - the structure of their debts
    - dividends for shareholders
  • assessing its risks and decide how to manage them. For example, how reliable are its suppliers or the source of important ingredients and are there any social, political or environmental risks?
  • acting in an ethical and fair manner. Staff need to understand the law on many different aspects of business such as competition law, bribery and corruption, discrimination, equal pay, and fair trading. Proper training and development therefore needs to be put in place, relevant to the different jobs people have in the company.


Good sustainability practice is crucial to long-term success. Without economic sustainability, a company will not be as successful in the social and environmental parts of sustainability.

The cosmetics industry represents an important economic sector in the European Union with several thousand companies and direct and indirect employment of more than 500,000 people. Sales amount to over £50 billion a year, almost half the global total, so ensuring that economic sustainability is of huge importance.