How to grow a business through sustainability3 min read
As direct and urgent action is being taken by governments to tackle global warming, the way businesses operate is changing.
The automotive industry especially will transform dramatically. As manufacturing shifts towards fully electric cars, diesel and petrol-fuelled vehicles may soon be phased out entirely.
From designing and developing reusable rockets and electric cars to technology that powers homes with renewable energy, Tesla is a shining example of how to grow a business through sustainability.
So how can other businesses benefit through their own efforts to go green?
Recognise shifts in consumer awareness
The subject of the environment is extremely important for people all over the world. As climate change progresses, scientists warn that our behaviour must change and governments must create legislation to combat global warming.
Since 1985 the number of media stories about sustainability has dramatically increased, especially over the last 20 years. This shows unequivocally that there is serious interest in the subject. As a result, people are buying goods and using services with sustainability and the environment in mind.
In this piece of research on consumer behaviour around buying sustainably, it was found that;
- In the past year, sales of consumer goods from brands committed to sustainability have grown more than 4%. This contrasts brands with no specific commitment to the cause, whose sales have grown by less than 1%.
- 66% of consumers said they were willing to pay more for sustainable brands, up from 55% in 2014.
Senior Vice President of Nielsen, Carol Gstalder, is quoted in the Global Sustainability Report as saying;
“Consumer brands that haven’t embraced sustainability are at risk on many fronts. Social responsibility is a critical part of proactive reputation management and companies with strong reputations outperform others when it comes to attracting top talent, investors, community partners and most of all, consumers.”
From this, it’s clear that investing time and resources into sustainability will have an impact on a company’s future. This is especially true of running a business with a strong overall ethos of environmentalism in mind.
Save money on energy
There are a huge number of businesses, resources, and individuals who can create a culture of sustainability within a business. This is vital to ensure that less energy is used and allows money to be used more effectively.
For example, Facebook has announced that it is building another data centre in Scandinavia due to the fact that the cost of keeping its servers cool is radically cheaper thanks to the cold environment while only using renewable energy for power.
Not every business can invest over $100 million into such a project; however, other initiatives to save money on energy consumption can be introduced. These will allow for money to be saved and invested more effectively for business growth.
Promote sustainability efforts as a unique selling point
Highlighting green efforts and sustainable business processes is something consumers want to hear and with enough effort, becoming a leader in sustainability can deliver worldwide press coverage and acclaim.
Forest Green Rovers is a football club in the third division of the English Football pyramid and though the club is small, it is known around the world for being the greenest football club in the world.
In September 2018, it was even awarded the ‘Momentum for Change’ Award by the United Nations.
The club has benefitted from investment, attracting sponsors and regular media coverage as a result.
Making investments into running a business more sustainably will only improve its health and long-term future and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Using low energy light bulbs, hosting recycling events and setting up internal newsletters with green tips for staff, are all cheap and easy to arrange, it doesn’t take millions to grow sustainably, it just takes a long-term view and intelligent planning.