Why is sustainability important in business?
Sustainability is an increasingly important issue for many of us, especially in the business world. Research has shown that in 2020 businesses accounted for 18% of emissions and with a recent IPCC warning that all sectors of the global economy must act rapidly in order to limit warming to 1.5° C (2.7° F), the time to develop a sustainable business plan has never been more important.
Benefits of sustainability in business
1. Business action can drive change
As an individual it can feel overwhelming to even begin to think about where to start in tackling climate change, but businesses can be at the forefront of instigating change amongst the masses. For instance, the non-dairy milk market has been booming in recent years, with businesses such as Oatly seeing sales soar as consumers seek out more planet-friendly non-dairy alternatives. By creating a well-marketed, tasty product they empowered thousands to make changes to their daily habits to benefit us all.
Unilever committed to only using palm oil from sustainable sources in 2008 and worked with its competitors and governments and NGOs to lead industry-wide adoption of sustainable palm oil. This allowed the world to shift its attitudes and actions towards palm oil use which was resulting in record greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Adding brand value
Being a purpose-driven business is a competitive advantage. According to research by Deloitte, such companies report 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of workforce retention than their competitors. A recent study also found that more than a third of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services.
3. It reduces business costs
Real cost savings can be generated by sustainable business practices. For example, by reducing the energy requirements for buildings this can result in a greater saving of bottom-line profits. Elaborate packaging can also be more expensive, so switching to a simpler, more sustainable alternative can reduce costs.
You may also see a boost in productivity among your employees as people enjoy working for ethically driven companies.
4. It attracts and engages talent
For today’s job seekers, it is highly important that a company has a sustainable outlook. Research has shown that 40% of millennials have chosen their jobs because of company sustainability while another recent survey found that 71% of job seekers want to work for environmentally sustainable companies after the pandemic.
5. It encourages innovation
Making the switch to become a more sustainable business encourages new, innovative ideas to grow. It allows businesses to question the status quo and think about how their operations can be made more efficient to benefit both people and planet. Are your out of date production processes damaging the environment and your efficiency? Are there alternatives to how you source your materials? Are there any new technologies you could use? It’s worth taking the time to research options to future proof your business.
Get started on your sustainability journey today
One of the best ways businesses can become greener is to educate themselves about sustainable practices. We are running Aiming for Net Zero workshops designed for SMEs of all sizes who would like to learn more about how they can reduce their impact on the environment. The next workshop is taking place on 21 September, where our expert trainer will explore three key areas to help you progress your Net Zero journey.
We are also running a series of lunch and learn events which focus on different topics within Net Zero with the aim of helping business on their Net Zero journey. Our next Lunch and Learn event on Green Culture is taking place on Tuesday 27th September. Book your place here.
These sessions are free for Business West Chamber members. If you’re interested in becoming a member, click here.
Trading to Net Zero
How business acts now will shape our planet and communities for centuries to come. Business West is commited to safeguarding the environment and addressing the climate crisis.