Blog: Sustainability makes good business sense

In this blog, LRQA's Area Technical Manager, Katerina Liana, looks at why sustainability makes good business sense

In January, the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Business (UKSSD), which includes Sedex together with many global brands, wrote an open letter to the British Prime Minister calling for support to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development were established in 2015 by 193 world leaders and achieving these goals would mean the end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.

Sustainable Development Goals Poster

In an OECD Observer article, economist and author, Dambisa Moyo, highlights why it is so important that we do not lose sight of these goals: “They are critical at a time when emerging economies, in which 90% of the world’s population (most of them under 25) live have seen their growth rates dip below the 7% per year needed to make a real dent in poverty.” She adds, “All of this and the resurgence in political and social instability throughout the world (according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 65 out of 150 countries face high or very high instability) underline the urgency of delivering on the SDGs.”

The commitment of the leading brands who co-signed the letter demonstrates that doing business in a responsible and sustainable way isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’. It makes good business sense; delivering the humanitarian benefits of a healthier and safer world, supply chain security, and long-term market opportunities to explore.

So, what can we do within our organisations to make a difference? Gaining visibility of the supply chain and conducting ethical trade audits is a good place to start. The Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is a compilation of good practice that covers the four pillars of labour standards, health and safety, business ethics and the environment. It is designed so that a supplier can share their audit results with multiple customers – reducing duplication and driving efficiency. Here at LRQA, we have a long history of providing environmental, health and safety and ethical audits that enable our clients to demonstrate a holistic approach to responsible business throughout the supply chain. This is well aligned with the aims of Lloyd’s Register Foundation (the charity that owns the Lloyd’s Register Group, of which LRQA is a part), which helps to protect life and property and support education, engineering-related research and public engagement.

The authors of the open letter state that supporting sustainable development is essential for our long-term prosperity and the wellbeing of generations to come. That we live in this time of uncertainty and instability, makes it even more important that individuals, organisations and governments find ways to work together to achieve the SDGs.

To find out how LRQA can support your organisation with responsible sourcing audits, visit or email

About the author

Katerina Liana

As Technical Manager for the Americas at LRQA, Katerina Liana is responsible for the day to day management of the area technical function. She is the LRQA global product specialist for SA 8000 and SMETA, and is also an IRCA certified Lead Assessor for a wide range of standards including: ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 50001. Katerina has over 25 years’ experience working for independent certification and training providers, having spent 15 years with the Hellenic Organization for Standardization before moving to LRQA. She holds a Diploma in Electrical Engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.