The Business Case for Sustainability

Sustainability and business success can work well together with the right strategy, yet so many people are still sceptical of the ways in which a business can thrive financially while also being environmentally friendly. But what if the opposite were true? In fact, far from being financially draining, establishing an eco-friendly business can actually add value to a company and help them make money rather than lose it. 

Why all Businesses should be Prioritising Sustainability

The time for neglecting the importance of sustainability has long passed, and businesses would be wise to recognise just how valuable going green can be, not only for their reputation but also for the planet as whole. The increased profits from investment into renewable solutions and green processes make sense from a business growth perspective, but there’s also corporate responsibility to consider. 

Sustainable strategies may not have a reputation for being financially viable, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as we’ve seen here, it can generate positive economic value and an improved brand reputation simply by connecting environmental problems with business goals. From mitigating risks to enhancing brand reputation, here are some of the ways that sustainability can actually be beneficial for a business. 

Fostering Innovation

Investing in sustainability drives innovation in your business, whether it’s rethinking the social needs of a new business opportunity, redesigning products to use more sustainable materials or encompassing greener manufacturing processes. The need to adapt can force businesses to rethink how they operate, when they may not have done otherwise, and that’s great for fostering creativity and thinking outside of the box, as well as boosting morale and motivation

Businesses need to recognise the growing consumer demand for sustainable products and greener, more ethical practices, and finding ways to meet these requirements can push brands to overcome challenges successfully in ways that can bleed into other areas of the business. It can help to encourage productivity and reduce costs, while also meeting the demand for sustainability.  

Environmental and Supply Risk

Implementing sustainable practices can offer real business benefits in relation to both risk management and enhanced control. One approach is to invest in renewable energy and adopt a circular economic model, as demonstrated by MPB, a company specialising in buying, selling and trading used photography equipment. Circularity is ingrained in their operations, their packaging is both reusable and recyclable, and they currently use renewable power for 50% of their electricity needs in their facilities. Their goal is to reach 100% by 2025.

Renewable solutions such as solar or wind mitigates any risks over energy security or increased prices, as we’ve seen businesses be affected by recently.

This removes the concern of high energy costs while also being beneficial for the environment.

Similarly, if you’re using fewer resources as a business or choosing cheaper materials that are kinder to the planet, such as recycled materials, this lowers production costs which makes your business more profitable and secure as markets shift in the future.

Employee Retention

As a sustainable business, you have an advantage in attracting and retaining top talent. Research shows that nearly 67% of employees demand sustainable ethics from businesses, and that impacts their decision to work with a brand and remain with them. It also affects morale. A further recent study indicates that morale is higher in companies with strong ethics and goals around sustainability, which creates a team that’s motivated and engaged. It provides employees with purpose and this translates into reduced absenteeism and higher productivity. 

In particular, millennials and Gen Zers prioritise sustainability and want to work for an environmentally conscious company, so it can go a long way towards developing a strong team and retaining those employees. Without acting on your sustainability claims, you run the risk of failing to attract the staff needed to grow your business.

Set Industry Trends

Sustainability helps your company stand out and it can also influence behaviours which bring in new customers. Depending on the industry you operate in, you might be one of just a handful of businesses offering a more sustainable approach which can set your brand apart and attract a certain type of discerning customer.

Sustainability can help your business stand out in your industry and influence the behaviours of others, driving real change and benefiting from being a leader on the subject. Expertise is so important today, for customers to build trust, and being a driving force in your industry can really help to position you as an authority. 

Positive Publicity and Better Reputation

An eco label reading save our bees

Another positive outcome of sustainability in business is the publicity it can garner your brand. Given the demand for sustainability from consumers, along with the constant headlines we’re seeing in relation to the climate crisis, there’s never been a better time to move towards an eco-friendlier operation.

Time and time again, we see the positive reputation that eco-minded businesses enjoy, and it can be a source of customer and employee pride to work with or for a business that acts on its claims.

Attract a Broader Customer Base

Focusing on sustainability builds your customer base too. Studies have shown that over one third of consumers worldwide are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services, in a bid to lead more environmentally friendly lives, and they’ll be attracted to businesses offering a greener alternative. 

Consumers are increasingly willing to take the time to seek out sustainable businesses, and that spells great news for those brands who can offer what customers are looking for. Businesses on the fence about whether going green is for them would be well advised to make the switch to a sustainable way of working, because it could result in a much more loyal customer base.

Convinced?

In recent years, businesses have become increasingly keen to demonstrate their eco credentials, but for the most part, it’s been to satisfy customer demand. Now we can see that there’s a business case for sustainability and environmentally friendly practices, and it’s a trend that’s likely to grow as more businesses realise the financial and reputational benefits it offers. From moving to renewable power to green materials for products and garnering positive press from green goals, there’s so much brands can do to position themselves as a green business.

Guest Post by Dakota Murphey (@dakota_murphey)

Dakota Murphey is a freelance writer with more than 10 years' experience creating content for a number of authoritative sites. She writes on topics ranging from travel, photography and sustainability to company growth, business trends and branding.

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