Sustainability is no longer discretionary and is rapidly becoming part of every business bottom line. While consumers, governments, NGOs, investors, and insurance companies are actively protecting people and the planet resources, IT businesses are promising to take necessary action towards the fulfilment of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development set by the United Nations.
Realizing what sustainability means for a brand and determining how to formulate a successful business strategy is key to ensure an enterprise’s long-term operations and simultaneously, unlock investment opportunities that are tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sustainable businesses create long-term value by considering their eco-friendly and socially responsible business practices that leads to a sustainable future and rich business value creation.
Benefits of Sustainability in Business
IT companies around the world are increasingly adopting and implementing sustainability strategies. Sustainable business practices have multiple benefits over their non-sustainable counterparts.
Here are the six main advantages that are direct results of practicing sustainability in your business –
Competitive Advantage and Enhanced Brand Image
According to a survey conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute in the US, 58% of customers (from 53,000 people) are inclined to buy from companies that show a positive track record in being sustainable. This indicates that brand awareness is a major area where businesses can do well if they are sustainable.
Public awareness ads are also a way to promote sustainability. For example, Colgate advertised its water conservation campaign during the Super Bowl, and it instantly became the talk of the town. But this is a double-edged sword, and it means that if companies advertise and preach but fail to walk the talk, they stand to lose more goodwill than earned.
Cost Reduction and Increased Productivity
There is no way that being sustainable can do more harm than good. Simple, sustainable practices such as turning off the lights when not in use or insulation of walls can go a long way in reducing the energy consumption in a company. Costlier solutions such as geothermal installations and cooling towers may be harder to opt for, but the long-term benefits of sustainability in business far outweigh the short-term expenses.
Waste reduction leads to cost reduction as the resources are used judiciously and hence last longer. Employees enjoy increased productivity when companies adopt sustainable practices, leading to efficiency and streamlined efforts towards a common goal.
You could take a leaf out of Nike’s book and focus on waste reduction, thereby minimizing your carbon footprint. Or you could follow in the footsteps of Adidas by creating a greener supply chain. Adidas did by targeting specific issues like dyeing and eliminating plastic bags.
Moving towards a sustainable future can also be done by managing and improvising how employees move to the office. BMW did this by teaming up with Wipro’s digital approach wing Designit, and launched a mobility campaign that aimed at rewarding employees with redeemable points for choosing to commute by bicycle and public transportation.
Enhanced Compliance with Regulations
Climate change, dissipating energy resources, and other environmental causes tend to affect government-imposed business regulations. In such a volatile environment, sustainable businesses are better positioned to meet the changing regulations than others. This is all done to protect the environment, so it is for the greater good.
Attract and Retain Your Employees, Investors, and Shareholders
In a report titled “Profits with Purpose: How Organizing for Sustainability Can Benefit the Bottom Line,” McKinsey reported that sustainability not just leads to cost reduction but also increasing profitability.
Sustainable businesses are not just favored by the customer but also by the workforce. A positive brand image attracts young employees as environmental conservation is embedded into their very nature. Once the stakeholders know about your environmental impact, for instance, your carbon footprint, no one wants to be connected to an organization that fares poorly on the sustainability test. It is best to position your business as eco-friendly and attract the right talent and the money your business needs.
In the age of climate change, the only way to make course corrections is to make sustainability a necessity for businesses. It is an overarching business strategy, but applying sustainability requires dedication, commitment, and consistent follow-through from the top-level executives to the junior employees.
It benefits both the business and the environment as the cost reduction, and sales boost happen simultaneously. Firms that are embarking on the sustainability journey have already shown the rest how they can do it. All businesses should follow suit by being transparent and addressing material issues to help the world be a greener place.