The Time To Put Sustainability at Business Core Is Now

Posted by The Team at CXtec on Jan 30, 2023 1:32:19 AM

Sustainability has moved past being a buzzword to a necessity for corporations. Gone are the days when throwing around words such...

Sustainability has moved past being a buzzword to a necessity for corporations. Gone are the days when throwing around words such as “eco-friendly,” “natural,” and “green” was enough to advertise one’s products and overstate a company’s sustainability efforts.

Today, companies need to take real, bold actions to be deemed genuinely sustainable.

Not to forget, there’s a massive shift in perspectives and growing awareness around environmental degradation. The way I see it - what customers expect today is for organizations to answer society’s call and turn their focus to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. A 2021 study of over 10,000 people across 17 countries backed that 85% of consumers have been increasingly purchasing greener products in the past five years.

There are no two ways about it. Sustainability needs to become less of a good-to-have CSR move for enterprises and more of a strategic imperative.

Why Business Sustainability Is More Important Than Ever

Here’s some good news: companies are already transitioning toward green business development. Take, for example, a 2022 study of 850 companies worldwide that revealed 80% of companies plan to boost investments in green business operations and sustainability. I have listed down a few good reasons that shed light on why companies need to prioritize business sustainability:

It’s easy to spot ‘business greenwashing’

Simply put, customers are much more aware now and can easily see through false claims or advertising. In my opinion, there’s no place for greenwashing in the current landscape, and it will only tarnish a brand’s reputation. Customers have also become more oriented toward sustainable products and even consider brands that follow ethical, environmental practices in high regard.

A study suggests that 93% of customers either shot up purchases of sustainable products or maintained their sustainable buying habits in the past year. Hence, if you want your business to successfully meet customers’ needs, stay future-proof, and gain a competitive edge - remain committed to sustainable practices.

Kill two birds with one stone

It’s a common myth that implementing a sustainable business is full of trade-offs. I don’t believe you have to compromise business performance for green business development. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Paying attention to ESG concerns optimizes business performance, leading to higher profits and stable long-term growth.

A study I came across reaffirms this. Over 25% of businesses experienced cost savings due to their investment in sustainability. Sustainable businesses also attract more talent. A survey revealed that over 70% of people are more likely to choose a company with a strong environmental agenda.

Your planet, your responsibility

There’s only one way to put this. As living beings on Earth, it’s everyone’s responsibility to be stewards of this planet, mitigate the damage, and restore it for future generations. While sustainability poses many benefits - improved business bottom line, better brand perception, etc. - it’s easy to forget one of the many important reasons you need to transform your business into a sustainable business - moral responsibility.

So, how do you practice that responsibility? Reducing carbon footprint can be the first step in the process. Climate change is a serious matter of concern, and taking steps to reduce carbon emissions can boost your sustainability goals.

Neglecting regulatory demands is a no-go

Another reason I’d like to point out that’s worth mentioning is that governments worldwide are demanding a more responsible approach to conducting business. If your business fails to abide by new environmental policies enacted by the government, there’s a looming risk of penalties, adverse government actions, and legal disputes. The key here is to be more proactive, carefully manage their ESG efforts and set a robust action plan to embed sustainability.

Simple yet Effective Ways To Incorporate Sustainability

Here’s the thing. Recognizing the need for sustainable business is only one part of the battle. It’s also imperative to start acting on it. Many companies consider implementing sustainable practices within their business operations an arduous task - one that’s high on financial investment and hard to implement.

From my viewpoint, there are many simple initiatives that can kickstart your sustainable business journey without making it a costly obligation.

Kickstart the transition to a paperless office

Are you aware that paper accounts for most of the unrecycled waste generated by offices worldwide? The average worker in an office environment consumes 10,000 sheets of copy paper annually, and over 40% of wood pulp goes toward producing paper, carrying a steep environmental cost. Here are a few good tips that I can recall off the top of my head to reduce paper consumption:

  • Create a culture of ‘recycle, reuse, and reduce’ within the office
  • Move to online cloud storage and take digital notes
  • Reward employees to enforce the paperless message
  • Switch to modern multi-function devices with advanced features such as scan-to-cloud, optical character recognition, etc.

Start at the source

It’s simple. Localize your supply chain. The more products and goods consumed locally, the less transportation is required for shipping and storage. This positively impacts the environment by reducing fuel and energy consumption, carbon emissions, and packaging-related waste.

Consider investing in pre-owned products

Few know that leveraging refurbished or used products and hardware can boost sustainability efforts. Refurbishing products involves carefully inspecting, repairing, and testing old or used products to ensure they operate as smoothly as the new ones. It helps lower carbon footprint, minimize global demand for new products, reduce waste, and contribute to a circular economy. Not to mention, cost savings are an additional cherry on top!

Replace older machines with modern energy-efficient ones

Unbeknownst to many, monitoring heating, cooling, and other electric systems installed across your office can show you how much energy they consume. Whether it be air conditioning, thermostats, smart lights, etc., upgrading to new and modern energy-saving machinery can help you positively impact the environment by potentially reducing CO2 emissions and your company’s carbon footprint.

Promote green commuting

It’s a no-brainer, but traveling daily for work pumps massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, deteriorating environmental health. You can bolster business sustainability by encouraging employees to opt for eco-friendly traveling options such as taking the bus, riding a bike, etc., whenever possible. Moreover, remote working should be made available as it drastically reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Summing it up, I’d say that deciding whether your organization needs sustainability is no longer an option. With regulatory demands, conscious consumerism, and environmental issues on the rise, there’s a pressing need for companies to embrace sustainability. It’s about time to replace traditional business models with new ones, where green initiatives make up the core part.

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