Business sustainability, or corporate responsibility, is the process of operating a business without negatively impacting the environment or community. The goal of any sustainable business strategy should also involve having a positive impact on the community or society as a whole while minimising inequality, environmental degradation and social injustice.
While most companies have altruistic motives for operating more sustainably, there are also several ways that firms can benefit from the adoption of a corporate responsibility mantra. Here are just six of the key advantages of becoming a more sustainable as a business:
Improved brand image
Today’s consumers are more environmentally-conscious than ever before. Surveys suggest that approximately 60% of consumers will consider the impact a company has on the environment when deciding whether to purchase their goods or services.
You don’t need to look far to see how brand awareness is improved by being more sustainable. Some of the world’s largest companies use advertising campaigns to highlight how they operate sustainably. By adopting sustainable business practices like paperless manufacturing and encouraging sustainability among their consumers, companies can improve brand awareness and reputation.
Some detractors of sustainability might claim that corporate responsibility means having to accept a decrease in profits. However, the opposite is true. The development of sustainable business practices can help streamline operational efforts while conserving resources - this can improve employee productivity while reducing overall running costs.
In the short-term, this can be as simple as insulating buildings to use less heat or turning off the office lights at night time. In the longer term, making changes to production planning or using production software to operate more economically can also reduce costs.
Compliance with regulations
Climate change is an issue globally, with many government agencies tasked with enforcing regulations to protect the environment. By integrating sustainability into your business model, your company will be better poised to meet any changes to these regulations in a timely and efficient manner. By becoming sustainable, you’re essentially future-proofing your business against any future levies, and in some instances, governments may offer incentives to environmentally-friendly companies.
Attract the right investors
People want to be associated with companies that have a positive impact on the world. Many of today’s investors know the messages of environmental protection, and many would feel it is important to invest in companies that are respectful of the world around them.
Attract the right employees
Today’s graduates are incredibly conscious of having a positive impact on the world, and if you want to attract the best and brightest, your company should commit to sustainability. Waste mitigation is arguably the simplest way to achieve this. Things like recycling paper or replacing incandescent bulbs with LED lighting are great ways to reduce environmental and energy waste and save money. It will all demonstrate to potential employees that the environment matters to your business.
Please your shareholders
Sustainability doesn’t just help lower costs it can also result in increased profit. A recent study from Deutsche Bank found that companies that were rated highly in social, environmental and governance factors tended to outperform their contemporaries in both the medium and long-term.
Sustainability isn’t easy. It takes commitment and dedication from employees at all levels to succeed at being a responsible company. However, once you begin to make the smallest of changes, you’ll soon begin to notice that morale and productivity will increase. From here, you’ll start to witness an increase in sales while your overall costs decrease. It’s a win-win scenario; by becoming a sustainable business, you’re helping to save the environment while pleasing consumers, shareholders and employees alike.
Investment in technology can assist in your business sustainability efforts because it helps improve your overall efficiency and productivity.