Global warming is a reality and sustainability is a necessity. Beyond what one can achieve on an individual level, consumers strive to be environmentally friendly and are searching for companies willing to commit and do the same.
With the noticeable rise in climate change and irrefutable scientific data, it’s unbelievable that there are still companies resisting the change and refuting the demand for eco-friendly products/services. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to a study published by Harvard Business Review, products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6 times faster than their conventional versions. What can we take away from this? Consumers are willing to pay the price to impact the change they want to see, and consequently, they are also bidding against unsustainable brands.
Furthermore, if we think about what corporate sustainability entails, Fortune 100 marketing consultant Layton Cox puts it very simply: “Businesses should focus on creating good by doing good. Having sustainable practices are good for the businesses’ longevity, hence the name sustainable, and their core goal of doing good.”
Historically speaking, companies have been making their purchasing decisions with only the bottom line in mind. Fortunately, over the past 20+ years, changes have arisen. Procurement practices have been linked to their environmental impacts while addressing social and ethical concerns. The change doesn’t happen overnight, but a circular economy should be the goal of both companies and individuals. This way negative impacts on the planet are reduced without compromising production and distribution levels.
By choosing to integrate this kind of criteria, businesses face positive impacts down the line. These changes come in the form of better policy and technological enhancements, the power to reduce or even eliminate waste and even reduced costs.
Why should companies become eco-friendly? While there are many reasons companies should take the step toward sustainability, below are the top 5:
- A company’s brand value is directly impacted. When companies place pro-climate actions in business strategy and show the environmental impacts on social structures, it gives them an edge over their less-conscious competitors. A sustainable company attracts new talents who can significantly increase growth. Subsequently, customers will feel more confident investing money into a company they believe has lasting power and no uncertainty regarding long-term sustainability goals.
- It will help brands build a better relationship with local governing bodies and communities. This is important for any business that wants to thrive in the long run. One of the most valuable things you can do for your business is to stay on top of local regulations. By staying aware and involved in what’s happening with the community, as well as communicating effectively with government bodies (like city councils), the doors will open on future opportunities. Having an open line of communication with governing bodies will also give your company an advantage when trying to deal directly or indirectly through them!
- The use of environmental initiatives can enhance both investments and asset optimization. This is called ESG investing, which focuses on environmental and social impacts along with governance issues in a company’s practices to reduce risk while generating profit over time.
- Companies that create positive environmental impacts typically experience higher employee satisfaction, greater motivation rates among workers, as well as increased company revenue due to their quality of workforce. A business’ ability to attract top talent is enhanced when they invest time into training programs to teach new employees about the societal and environmental impacts of their work, both locally and globally. This approach not only motivates staff members, but also increases morale by fulfilling what some might call “the greatest need: the purpose at play.”
- Lastly, because it’s absolutely necessary. If we take into account the impact we are already seeing globally, there is no alternative for companies but to adapt to sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
Although it may be overwhelming for small companies, and perhaps even more so for the giants, change does not have to happen all at once. It can be made gradually and start internally: from the decisions that are made from the top, the company culture and the impact of the workforce. Businesses should also take a hard look at the companies with which they collaborate and make a sustainable effort regarding their communities. A company cannot create sustainable development on its own; it will always be a collective effort.
The concept of corporate sustainability is no longer a myth, it is a demand, and if we look at the changes in consumers’ perspectives, even the big names have taken notice. The sooner companies decide to accept today’s reality, and not look to future goals as an excuse, the sooner they will come to notice the positive results that these changes bring.
A company that relies on, and collaborates with, scientific data when it comes to its environmental impact, is a company that deserves the support and respect of its consumers. As a community, we will all reap the benefits of these transformations.