Sustainability isn’t merely a matter of preference or good PR anymore. Due to fast-evolving public opinion and changes in government legislation, it is becoming a defining factor in your company’s commercial viability. Here are six ways acting sustainably can help turn the buzzword into a benefit for your business:
1. Enhanced brand image and increased competitive advantage
Consumers are 58% more likely to buy your company’s products or services when they know your organisation is mindful of its impact on society and the environment, says consumer research by The Natural Marketing Institute, a strategic consulting partner that operates in 30 countries. The research also showed that consumers are willing to spend up to 20% more on environmentally sound products and services.
2. Increased productivity and reduced costs
Many companies have experienced greater operational efficiencies after implementing more sustainable business practices. It makes sense when you consider that better conservation and use of resources results in a more streamlined operation and decreased costs.
3. Better financial and investment opportunities
Financial and investment analysts recognise that sustainability plans for energy efficiency and reduction of environmental impact are an important company evaluator criterion. A Goldman Sachs study revealed companies in six industries considered leaders in environmental, social and governance policies to have outperformed the general stock. Another study based on CFO Research, which surveyed 175 top finance executives, showed that more than half believe their companies will increase revenue through strong sustainability initiatives.
4. Increased preparedness for future legislation and costs
Ernst & Young’s report The Top 10 Business Risks for Business highlights the necessity to be prepared for tighter environmental regulations and increased energy costs. As soon as 2020, it is estimated that companies will legally be required to reduce carbon emissions by 25%, and for this figure to rise to anything between 50-80% by 2050. This will affect both the availability and cost of energy, which are expected to double within the next decade.
5. Improved recruitment and retention of quality employees
People increasingly want to work for companies who are “doing the right thing”. According to Adecco, an international HR company, 52% of employed adults feel their companies should be more environmentally aware. Sustainability practices have become an underpinning factor in determining what a company is made of and how ethical its employees are. In fact, developing a corporate social responsibility programme is one of the top five internal practices for ensuring an ethical corporate culture, found A Global Study of Business Ethics by the American Management Association.
6. Healthier work environment for employees
Choosing more sustainable products have the added advantage of not only being planet-friendly but people-friendly, too. Eco-friendly cleaning products, for instance, which are plant-based and 100% biodegradable, contain no hazardous artificial chemicals. This means they’re significantly less likely to be detrimental to the health of your (maintenance) employees, resulting in happier, healthier staff.
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