Many businesses started to focus on becoming environmentally friendly today. The reason behind this choice may vary from one company to another, as some adopt sustainable products because they are willing to help the planet become a better place while others focus more on the idea of becoming more profitable in the near future. Some may wonder – how a company can become more profitable if investing greatly in sustainable strategies.
Well, the truth is that the mass perception regarding the topic of ecology and everything related to the dramatic impact of pollution on the planet can bring even more clients to companies that are already profitable enough. There are businesses that consider they can’t afford to become environmentally friendly, but they don’t think about the possibilities they will have in the long run, when customers will choose their products instead of another company’s just because they stick with the environment instead.
Regardless of the motivation behind the decision of adopting sustainable programmes, companies should know that sustainability as a general factor is meant to be profitable AND help the environment at the very same time. The rapidly evolving businesses are often portrayed as threats for the environment because the more products and services they sell, the higher the chances of polluting the environment.
In fact, businesses and the entire economies of countries are working towards earning more money and raising the quality of life for people, not realizing that – on the other hand – they are affecting the environment. The debate on sustainability and eco-friendly methods of running a business will still be hot for the next few years, so getting informed about the potential strategies that might need to be applied is a must.
Industry Leaders That Went Even More Profitable After Embracing Sustainability
Since the trend became important during the past years, corporate responsibilities increased tremendously, and industry leaders were forced to take action in this direction. This is why big companies exposed their initiative to become greener. More than a half of executives in all industries started to invest in sustainability strategies, not only because of the beneficial impact they would have on the ecological environment, but because of the visible impact, they would have on the economic one. Considering this change of mindset among business people, here’s how big companies embraced sustainability:
* Nike or Adidas went for a full sustainability strategy that is meant o reduce the quantity of waste that they produce. This was meant to reduce their carbon footprint, which is the desired result. These companies were dedicated to the effects their supply chains processes had before, and focused on eliminating plastic bags and polluting dye from their lines of production.
* Walmart and IKEA are now dedicated to sustainable retailing. The visibly reduced material usage they included in the scheme had a great effect on smaller companies, as they started following their example. The companies increased their resource productivity and work towards addressing local labor.
* The biopharma sector is not left behind either. Biogen is one of the few big pharma chains that adopted an eco-friendlier way to offer their services by reducing the energy they use, reducing the waste they produce and working on the social impact they have in terms of health. The same goes for Novo Nordisk and the partner pharma companies.
* The automotive industry is constantly pressured to invest in sustainability strategies, and so did BMW. The colossus works to reduce pollution and to become energy-efficient. Tesla surely deserves a spot in this list, as their challenging purpose to reduce the overall footprint impressed everyone.
These are just a few of the companies that committed to sustainable strategies, even though it initially represented more costs and a considerable investment. Today, these are worldwide companies with greater profit each year. Moreover, their capacity to inspire smaller companies to embark on this journey on becoming environmentally friendly does have an impact on the ecological environment. Businesses benefit from recycling, reducing waste, supporting the local communities and many other sustainable actions and this is a way to raise awareness on the topic.
Practical Recommendations For Choosing A Sustainability Programme
Depending on each company, a sustainability strategy may or may not be profitable in the future. Setting clear goals and ambitions is a must before going further with sustainability. Here are some guidelines on how to choose the appropriate sustainability programme:
Sustainability Is About Strategy First
Adopting a programme without thinking it through first is the mistake that most companies make, which leads to sustainability programmes that only consume money instead of making the company more profitable in the long run. By aligning the strategy with the company’s goals, financial possibilities, and future prospects, the sustainability approach should be effective and prioritized, leading to more profit in the future.
There must be a balance between sustainability as a purpose and sustainability as a strategy that involves financial and operational risks.
Gaining The Competitive Advantage
Companies that adopt sustainability become profitable because they instantly gain a competitive advantage. This involves a factor that makes these companies different from the others that offer similar services which cost almost the same.
The change of strategies attract customers which are directly influenced by the idea of a company being eco-friendly, and they switch sides. Of course, until reaching the competitive advantage, many processes must be dealt with, starting from obtaining permits and regulations to putting in a lot of resources. Poor sustainability performance won’t lead to greater profits and the reason behind it is the bad alignment between the strategy and the purposes of the respective company. Having business partners that are on the same page is another priority.
Becoming Proactive In Sustainability
Many companies find themselves in a place where they take sustainability programmes into account, but they don’t involve actual effort into making the change happen. Stepping up and actually putting in efforts for the cause is a must, even though the reason for this upgrade might be represented by constant pressures. For instance, Nike had to face anger from their customers because of the abusive labor practices they had around the 90s, so they started focusing more on changing the way they deal with this.