Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue, and it’s essential for your business that you do not ignore it. Not only is it important for the environment, but it’s also crucial for companies to attract new customers and build a loyal customer base. In America alone, 87% of consumers will purchase from a company because they advocated for an issue they care about. In this article, we will show you what sustainability means for businesses and cover the following topics:
- What does sustainability mean for business?
- Why is sustainability important?
- How to create a sustainable business strategy
What does sustainability mean for businesses?
For businesses, sustainability is all about doing business without negatively impacting the environment, local communities or society as a whole. Sustainability focuses on two main areas:
- The effect of your business on the environment
- The effect of your business on society as a whole
The main goal for businesses that focus on sustainability is to make a positive change in one of the areas above. When companies don’t take responsibility for these, it can negatively impact environmental damage, inequality, and social injustice.
Sustainable businesses take into account a wide variety of environmental, economic and social factors when they are making decisions for their business. When you want your business to be sustainable, you will monitor the impact of your business to ensure that short-term profits don’t end up costing your company more in the long run.
Sustainability in business examples
Many successful businesses participate in sustainable strategies for their companies; however, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, every business can create a system that is suitable for them.
Sustainable strategies depend on the business goals and values. Below are some examples of what a sustainable approach could look like:
- Using sustainable raw materials in the production process
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain
- Relying on renewable resources for energy consumption
- Reinvesting a portion of profits in local communities and education
Why is it important?
By focusing on sustainability, you’re not only aiming to solve global and local problems. It can also help to improve your chances of success and increase customer loyalty. For example, 68% of consumers say they’re motivated to be loyal to a brand by knowing that they share the same values.
It’s also crucial for companies that are looking for investors. Many investors use Economical Social and Governance (ESG) metrics to measure its ethical impact and sustainable practices. Investors can look at a variety of different factors, including:
- Carbon footprint
- Water usage
- Community development efforts
- Board diversity
Studies have shown that companies with a high ESG rating have a lower cost of debt and equity and that sustainability actions can improve financial performance and increase public support. Developing a sustainable mindset is essential for your business when it comes to developing company values, your mission statement and finding new growth opportunities. Implementing a sustainability plan is a win-win for your business; not only will you be able to increase your profits, but you will also be able to help improve the world, which will help you gain a lot of support.
How to create a sustainable business strategy
There are several ways that you can change your company’s values into tangible results. Here are some different ways to implement a sustainable business strategy.
Analyse the problem and define your goals
The first step that you will need to consider is analysing what sustainability means to you (and your team if you have one), your company, industry and potential customers or clients. Next, you will need to think about the big problems that each group thinks is important. You can find this out by asking yourself several questions, including:
- How much waste is my company creating?
- Is our product or service targeted to help a particular audience?
- Are we attracting diverse talent and clients or customers?
- What impact does my business have on the local community?
Once you can answer these questions and develop your objectives, you can start creating your mission.
Establish your mission
Once you’ve set out your sustainability objectives, it’s time to start thinking about your mission. A distinctive mission statement is vital to becoming a more sustainable business. Your mission statement should highlight what your business is doing to become more sustainable, not what you’re planning to do. It should summarise your company’s values and serve as a guide for what you want your business to focus on and become known for. Here are some examples of effective mission statements:
- Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
- Linkedin: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
- Adidas: ”We are a global organisation that is socially and environmentally responsible, that embraces creativity and diversity and is financially rewarding for our employees and shareholders.”
- Patagonia: “Our Reason for Being: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Build your strategy
Once you have created a strong mission statement, you’re ready to build a sustainable business strategy. Of course, your sustainability strategy must be profitable for your business. You won’t be able to fulfil your mission without profitability. However, as we mentioned above, becoming more sustainable will help your bottom line.
A lot of business owners think they need to create massive changes to become more sustainable. However, the truth is that even small changes can have huge impacts. For example, do you leave your lights, heating or computers on overnight? Switching those off can have huge benefits financially and environmentally.
The critical thing to keep in mind is to keep in mind how your strategy affects the following; people, profit and planet.
Implement and assess
It’s all well and good to say that you’re going to be more environmentally mindful; however, it’s much more effective to take a public stance, make a pledge and achieve your sustainable goals. Once you have your mission and your strategy ready, you will be able to start making your way towards your sustainable goals. It’s also important to keep track of your goals and adjust them if need be.
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