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Why Sustainability Matters in Business

Matthew Hollis

Matthew Hollis

Co-founder and President at Elytus
Matthew S. Hollis is the co-founder and president of Elytus, a third-party administrator that helps clients streamline waste and recycling operations while becoming more sustainable in the process. As a part of its #WasteNothing motto, Elytus believes in saving time, money and the environment.
Matthew Hollis

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As you’re building your business, you’ll find yourself juggling many essential tasks. Product design, website management, bookkeeping, marketing and more may initially come to mind as crucial components to starting a business. There’s also no better time to weave sustainability into your business than when you’re getting started.

Going green is more than just a trendy topic; not only can it drive consumers to your business, it can also benefit your bottom-line: in a recent survey, over 80 percent of global respondents feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment. Younger consumers especially will show their loyalty to companies with eco-friendly values, whether that’s selling zero waste products or reducing plastics.

Further, consumers are sometimes willing to pay a higher price for sustainable goods: a recent study by CGS found that more than two-thirds of Americans consider sustainability when making a purchase and are willing to pay more for sustainable products.

So, if you decide to follow sustainable business practices, it’s to your advantage to highlight your environmentally-friendly offerings and display sustainability efforts in plain sight of your customers, both online and in store.


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Here are a few tips to help your business take advantage of the benefits of going green

Position yourself to consumers and investors as a forward-thinking company

By actively promoting your startup as a sustainable business, both consumers and investors will see you as progressive, and are prone to be more invested in a long-term relationship. On the customer side, that means repeat purchases rather than one-off buys. If your investors also value the fight against climate change and make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, they’ll likely value your business’s sustainability efforts and support accordingly.

If you have a physical product, limit the packaging

Due to poor product design and lack of recycling infrastructure, the majority of plastic packaging waste is sent to landfills: over 9.2 billion tons of plastic have been produced within the last 70 years, of which only 9 percent has been recycled properly.

While your product design is an essential part of your marketing strategy, keep in mind that limiting the amount of packaging will result in cost savings for your business, as well as less of an environmental footprint. A win-win!


Related: 7 Steps for Getting Your Health Food Product to Market

Let your customers know your priorities

Launch an awareness campaign to educate your customers about what you’re doing for the environment. For example, you could hold a sale to promote your new sustainable product line. The more consumer touch points where you can highlight your sustainable efforts, the better.

Measure your progress and adjust accordingly

It can be difficult to quantify your company’s progress toward sustainability without first measuring a baseline. Begin by benchmarking your company’s initial waste volumes so you can have real data to support your new sustainability efforts.

These statistics, in addition to your business’ actual cost savings, may come in handy during a consumer marketing campaign, or when you decide to deliver results to your investors or consumers. And if you are not seeing the results you expected, tweak your approach until you see the desired outcome.


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Conclusion

Now more than ever, consumers are speaking up with their wallets and voicing their loyalty for companies that prioritize sustainability. Being eco-friendly does not have to be the central identity of your brand; rather, it can be incorporated whenever possible to benefit your business and the environment.

Looking forward, I predict that sustainability will be an expectation for all businesses as we work toward a greener future together. Consider adopting these principles in order to ease the transition into sustainability.

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