What is sustainability?
Imagine a three-legged stool where the organisation is the seat. The stool will not be able to stand up straight in the longer run if one of the three legs are missing, it would tilt and fall over. The three legs represent people, profit and planet – or the organisation’s finances, its people and the environment in which it operates. The organisation will wobble unless these three aspects are considered, and there is more. Taking into account the sometimes forgotten aspects of people and planet, can have a positive impact on profit. This is what it means to have a sustainable business. In this blog, I will share five benefits of why being a sustainable business, is great for business.
Brand is the organisation's identity, how it defines itself to the target audience and build connections that create great customer relationships. Which we all would like, right? How would you like your customers to view your organisation? As a responsible organisation or an irresponsible one?
Studies show that 86% of consumers want companies to take a stand on social issues, and 64% of them are more likely to buy from such companies. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of consumers would spend more on a product if it came from a sustainable brand and up to 73% of surveyed millennials had a similar view.
Having less impact on the environment by reducing travel (less greenhouse gas emissions are emitted mitigating climate change and less pollutants improving air quality), reducing energy consumption and being more efficient with the energy that is used (energy produced by fossil fuels are also contributing to climate change), reducing use of water and reducing waste sent to landfill, will also reduce costs. Therefore, measuring resource use is a good way of becoming aware of potential reductions, leading to a win-win for the business and a positive outcome on sustainability, i.e. people, profit and planet. What gets measured gets managed.
To identify and correctly communicate the greater “why” to what the business is in service of, what the business’ purpose is, is helpful in more than one way. A purpose that engages people and helps them see the bigger picture of what the organisation is doing can both help retain existing staff and be a reason for why new people will want to work for a specific organisation. Millennials are expected to make up more than a third of the workforce in 2020 and more than 75 percent by 2025. Research has found that millennials place a high priority on having a purpose beyond just a high-paying career. Feeling part of a higher purpose contributes to employee satisfaction and job satisfaction makes people more effective and more likely to stay in their roles, keeping the talent and the experience in the organisation. Which organisation wouldn't want to be a great place to work at?!
Sharing and communicating the purpose of the organisation, its role in the bigger picture and discussing this openly and transparently with employees will very likely lead to greater engagement and employee satisfaction - and can also contribute to new ideas of operating the business, moving away from business as usual and spurring innovation.
Sustainability is a way of engaging with the employees and it is also a way of engaging with clients/ customers and the supply chain. Collaboration often brings closer ties and who does not want to have returning clients and customers as well as a reliable supply chain?! Working together will also bring greater impact.
Sustainability is really the ultimate win-win-win achievement for shareholders, customers and employees.
Carolina Karlstrom is a sustainability expert, providing advice and services to businesses and charities interested in greening their organisations and reducing their environmental impact, having a positive outcome on people, profit and planet. If you are interested in learning more and engaging your employees, get in touch quoting HGH19 for a 15% reduction on Lunch-and-learn introduction session. Email Carolina on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07773 970004.
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