Sustainability isn’t a new phenomenon, but the acceleration of social and cultural conscience over the past year has seen it increasingly become an actionable goal for organisations. If organisations don’t already have sustainability practices in place, they need to seriously consider implementing them. Here are our top 5 reasons why sustainability is so important for businesses:
#1 Improves brand image and reputation
An organisation’s brand image is one of its most important assets. Ending up on the front page because of a scandal is a CEO’s worst nightmare. Incorporating sustainable practices into a company’s culture and brand is more likely to reap reputational and bottom-line benefits and protect the business from any damaging incidents. However, organisations must carefully consider how they communicate their sustainability commitments, as authenticity matters, and greenwashing can earn an organisation a special place in the shamed brands hall of fame.
#2 Employee recruitment and retention
Research indicates that employees are more likely to work for an organisation whose principles and practices are aligned with their own. Our research revealed that amongst Gen Z, just 1 in 5 would work for a company that does not share their values. The next generation is moving into the workforce and it’s clear they prioritise values above all else. Current employees are also more engaged and stay in a company for longer if they are purpose driven and show a real commitment to reducing their impact on the world. Ultimately, companies with no sustainable initiatives will struggle to attract and retain the best talent.
#3 Consumer engagement
There has never been a better time to launch a sustainable offering. Consumers, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, increasingly say they want brands that embrace purpose and sustainability. The next generation is looking for brands to lead the way and create change with them, not just for them. To appeal to an environmentally conscious audience, organisations need to be purpose-driven; they need to take a stand and act on social and environmental issues. In a recent report companies stated that as a result of their environmental sustainability efforts customer satisfaction had improved.
#4 Increased productivity and reduced costs
Many companies often don’t implement sustainable initiatives because of the concern that it will eat into their corporate profit. However, development of sustainable business practices lends itself to efficient operations that streamline efforts and conserves resources, which enhances employee productivity and reduces cost. Ultimately, greening your business takes an initial investment, but over time, you’ll save money and increase productivity. An Ernst and Young’s study reveals nearly 50% of CSR programs produce a positive return-on-investment.
#5 Competitive advantage
Sustainability is growing in importance, but few companies are communicating their initiatives right. This highlights a significant opportunity for businesses to be on the forefront and gain a competitive advantage. Being a purpose driven company that does good in the world, rather than just focusing on the bottom line is becoming a key driver for many people.
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