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Incorporating Sustainability into Your Business
Concerns about the environment are at an all-time high. After years of depleting natural resources, people around the world are finally realizing that there is only little left now.
Corporates around the world are considered to be one of the major culprits for this dire situation. After all, all these years they kept using the earth’s resources be it wood, water, or minerals, and kept giving carbon dioxide in return. Hence, lately, as a shot at redemption, corporates are integrating the concept of sustainability with their core business. From a customer perspective, businesses that not just care about their shareholders but also their stakeholders, are in the most demand. Hence, today it is paramount for businesses to jump on this bandwagon of sustainability to stay afloat.
Perks of incorporating sustainability in the business strategy
Following are the 5 reasons why your company should go for sustainability −
A report by Neilson says that millennials, which form the largest portion of today’s world population are twice as likely to change their buying behavior for sustainability than the traditional baby boomers. Even Gen Zs are touted to be equally concerned about the future of the earth. Hence, it goes without saying that in the near future, how sustainable a product is, will be a significant factor to influence a customer’s buying decision. Hence, it makes sense for businesses to come up with sustainable products.
Attracting the best talents
As mentioned earlier, the youth stands strong on the idea of sustainability. This translates into the fact that they will prefer working for a company that is socially and environmentally responsible. According to a report by McKinsey, 76% of millennials are happy to accept a pay cut while working for a company that is committed to sustainability. Such is their enthusiasm. Hence, it will not be a far-fetched idea to say that in the near future, sustainably committed companies are going to attract the best talents in the world.
Reduced risk of legal intervention
Stories of companies shutting down for flouting environmental standards are not unheard of. Add to it the layers of sustainability-related regulations passed recently. Given today’s dire situation and bleak vision of the future, these regulations are only going to get stricter. Hence, committing to sustainability will make sure you comply with all the laid standards. This in turn will keep your company from legal and political interventions.
Switching to sustainable options can reduce your cost of conducting business by as much as 60 percent. Reduced energy consumption, reduced water usage, and reduced waste generation are some of the ways, sustainability can help you save money. Hence, it makes sense for businesses to find out productional or operational inefficiencies and opt for a sustainable alternative for the same.
How to incorporate sustainability into the business practice?
Follow the following steps to make your business socially and environmentally responsible −
Have a clear sustainability goal
Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) sustainability goals for the business is the most crucial step towards the process. There should be separate goals for both fronts: social and environmental. Assigning a competent leader, with the right credentials and relevant experience, to supervise the entire process will be crucial for success. The Fortune 500 companies have already opened positions like Chief Sustainability Officer for the same.
Analyze where your business stands right now in terms of sustainability
How sustainable is your business right now? What is the current level of greenhouse emissions from your company? How much resource does your company use? What is the carbon footprint of your company? Finding answers to these questions helps in the efficient planning of future sustainable goals. There are different sustainability tools to help you answer these questions like risk assessment, benefit-cost analysis, and life cycle assessment.
Facilitate talks about sustainability within the organization
To pull off this herculean task, it is important to take the employees of the organization on board. Making them aware of the whole concept of sustainability and helping them understand the urgency to integrate is the first step. The company can host climate consciousness workshops or invite eminent environmentalists for talk shows for the same. Once the employees come to terms with the fact that sustainability is no longer optional but imperative, it will be a smooth ride ahead.
Go for Green Marketing
One of the best ways to convey to your customers, how committed you are to sustainability, is through Green marketing. It is the process wherein a company promotes its goods or services as eco-friendly and socially impactful. For example, a company that sells its product in a packet made of recycled materials stands out in the eyes of today’s conscious customers. There are other ways to execute green marketing like Eco- Labels, minimal product design, or cause-related marketing.
Incentivize the right behavior
Once the entire policy about incorporating sustainability into the business is formed, the only way to keep it running within the organization is to incentivize adherence to these policies. The incentive scheme should not only be for the employees of the organization but also for all the business partners involved like the suppliers, the retailers, and the customers.
Employees should be incentivized for using public transport and not their vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. Suppliers should be rewarded for supplying eco-friendly materials to the company. The retailers should be motivated to get certifications from global organizations like Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for using sustainable materials. Finally, offering special discounts to customers who adhere to sustainability practices can keep them motivated. For example, a coffee shop gives discounts to customers who bring their cups.
The cry for moving toward sustainability has never been stronger and it is only going to increase. To stand out in this world with few resources left, businesses need to make sustainability their central idea. Businesses missing out on this concept are bound to be buried to death in the near future.
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