Why Are So Many Businesses Embracing Sustainability?
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
As expectations of corporate responsibility increase and consumer demand for transparency becomes common-place, companies are recognising the need to act on sustainability, fast. Good intentions aren’t cutting it - customers, employees, investors and regulators expect to see actions taken & strategic efforts made to implement sustainability as part of the blue-print of a business.
When it comes to corporate sustainability action, things are escalating quickly! But let's be real, companies aren’t taking climate action out of the goodness of their hearts. Here are three major business advantages for taking sustainability seriously...
You'll appeal to a large and growing consumer base. We’ve written extensively on this before... Consumers are far more likely to purchase a product based on whether or not the brand aligns with their personal values, whether it be political, environmental or cultural. While this may not have been commonplace behaviour in the past, today it has become important to know exactly what you are purchasing and what that company stands for. Dr. Matt Johnson, professor at Hult International Business school says, ‘There is accumulating evidence that consumers are impacted by the perceived sustainability of a brand, and further, that consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from a sustainable brand over a non-sustainable competitor brand’. There you have it, sustainability sells.
You'll find and keep top talent. Organisations with robust corporate social performance (CSP) are more attractive to employees. Management Professor David Jones at the University of Vermont suggests that CSP informs “signal-based mechanisms that ultimately affect organisational attractiveness: job seekers’ anticipated pride from being affiliated with the organisation, their perceived value fit with the organisation, and their expectations about how the organisation treats its employees.” ING, a Dutch financial services company, found their sustainable initiatives were helpful in recruitment. According to Mark Milders, head of ING investor relations, “Our sustainability standpoint is crucial to recruiting people to the firm... Millennials in particular don’t want to join companies associated with pollution or low ethical standards.”
You'll win the support of investors. Many investors today use Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics to analyse an organisation’s ethical impact and sustainability practices, looking at factors such as a company’s carbon footprint, water usage, community development efforts, and board diversity. Research shows that companies with high ESG ratings have a lower cost of debt and equity, and that sustainability initiatives can help improve financial performance while fostering public support. McKinsey ran a study of several companies that developed successful sustainable programs, with the conclusion that such programs are not only strongly correlated with good financial performance, but also play a role in creating it.
For top tips on how to go about making your business a more sustainable one, check-out this great HBR article here to first define what sustainability means to your company, and you can also find a good Entrepreneur article packed with practical tips here.
If you’re searching for ways to build and maintain a sustainable workforce, look no further! Capture is launching our service for organisations this August, helping you manage emissions from corporate travel & track CO2 savings from planet-friendly commitments. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.