Recently, sustainable business practices have taken the forefront in the national conversation about sustainability. Although there are numerous companies with sustainable strategies in place, numerous business executives are still apprehensive about the benefits of implementing sustainability in their organization. Businesses that promote sustainable practices are not only more likely to improve efficiency and increase profits, but also assist in the preservation of the environment and the reduction of carbon emissions.
Why should companies engage in sustainable practices? Below are ten specific reasons:
1. Saves Money
One of the fundamental reasons for implementing sustainable business practices involves the fact that it makes good business sense. Sustainability initiatives will help businesses from a logistical and operational standpoint, as business can be conducted both effectively and efficiency with less resources and higher savings (specifically in terms of energy usage).
2. Consumer Appeal
How do you make your company appealing in today’s global market? According to Nielsen’s 2012 Global Corporate Citizenship Survey, 66% of individuals polled thought companies should support the environment, underlining its importance. Companies with stronger investments in sustainable practices will likely appeal to a large global consumer base, while simultaneously increasing brand loyalty.
3. It is Not Just for Big Businesses
More often than not, when people hear the term corporate sustainability, large businesses usually come to mind. However, small businesses that implement sustainable practices can benefit just as much, if not more than larger businesses, specifically in terms of energy savings. Although big businesses maintain an advantage in terms of streamlining their supply chain to be more sustainable, the cost savings for small businesses are invaluable to remain competitive.
4. Improve Talent Acquisition
As companies seek to appeal to Millennials (also referred to as Generation Y), implementing sustainable practices and engaging in environmental, ecological, and social responsibility will improve the talent pool for companies looking to hire. According to recent studies, this generation wants to work for companies that readily engage in social values and are not merely looking for employment, but for a workplace that is an extension of the values they support. A study by Johnson Controls Inc. noted that Generation Y employees actively sought a work environment that engaged in sustainable and social practices. With an older generation of workers leaving the workforce, it will be important to appeal to one of the largest generation of workers today. More importantly, however, is the fact that companies dedicated to sustainability and social values are much more likely to retain their employee base, as studies have indicated higher rates of work satisfaction and loyalty.
5. Leadership Opportunities
In the past, companies have initiated sustainability strategies in order to avoid regulatory fines. Today, many companies are at the forefront of the sustainable movement to further environmental legislation, greatly enhancing not only their own brand image, but also their competitive advantage. Companies that value sustainability have a strong opportunity to influence the future of business operations and become a leader in their industry.
6. Public Relations and Brand Reputation
Companies that value sustainability will systematically foster positive brand awareness, commercial appeal, and brand perception.
7. Avoid Resource Limitations
As natural resources continue to deplete through over-consumption, cost for operational processes will inevitably increase. Therefore, companies that readily engage in sustainable business practices such as reducing and recycling product waste and utilizing alternative energy sources, will be prepared for the future, and remain competitive in the global market.
8. Potential for Innovation
Companies with sustainability at the core of their business strategy readily value innovation in the marketplace. As these companies focus on alternative means of reducing the use of natural resources, climate change, and energy usage, innovation through products and services is usually a direct result. Innovative products and services will likely increase revenue and market appeal to consumers, helping to drive business forward.
9. Tax Incentives
According to a report by Area Development, there are a range of financial incentives for implementing environmentally-conscious activities. Federal, state, and local governments can provide incentives for companies through production, investment, or consumption-based income tax credit, cash grants, tax exemptions (on the state and local government levels), and depreciation of certain capital expenses.
10. Stay Ahead of Regulations
As aforementioned, many businesses initially sought to implement sustainable practices in order to comply with government regulations. Given the growing demand for environmental legislation for corporations, staying ahead of the curve by implementing sustainable practices in a timely fashion will alleviate many of the logistical and financial challenges of rapidly changing business operations when more widespread legislation passes.
As evidenced above, there are numerous reasons for companies to engage in sustainability. Although the success of sustainable initiatives depends on its implementation, a strong commitment will undoubtedly generate positive results. One of the most comprehensive ways for companies to prepare for the implementation of sustainable practices is through training and education. Everblue’s Corporate Sustainability training was created to educate individuals from all backgrounds on the theories and values of corporate responsibility. Our course will give you the certification you need to propel your company forward and become a leader in this up-and-coming industry. To learn more about our program, please visit our Corporate Sustainability Manager page or call us at 800-460-2575.
By Peter J. Bock