For years, a “sustainability strategy” seemed like pie-in-the-sky daydreaming, the province of idealists that don’t understand business. However, as sustainability strategies have grown and developed, their economic benefits began to clarify, and soon, this tool formerly regarded as eco-granola-nonsense became a significant contributor to the bottom line. Such a transformation might amaze, but a closer look at how it pulled off such a move will make it look simpler than many may have expected.
How Does a Sustainability Strategy Provide Benefits for Businesses?
Naturally, some of these benefits will apply to some businesses more so than others. But even incremental improvement can add value to the bottom line, and using even a few of these points will improve the odds that your sustainability strategy will produce.
Cost savings. This is easily the biggest benefit of a sustainability strategy, and also the one that everyone sees immediately. The plain and simple truth is that sustainability principles require less energy use, more recycling, and generally more eco-friendly behaviors. When you use less energy, you cut your power, heating, or similar bills. When you recycle more, you reduce your waste, which means less waste hauling and reduced costs. When you use recycled products, you can take advantage of cost savings over purchasing new products. Sustainability, commonly, produces several cost savings, and reduced expenses are an immediate boost to profitability as long as revenue remains static.
Improved revenue. This benefit is much less familiar, but still there; a sustainability strategy that’s sufficiently publicized results in improved sales revenue. A 2015 Nielsen poll made it clear: 66% of all customers will pay more for sustainable goods, and as for millennials, 73% will do likewise. Thus, if you’re targeting millennials specifically, being visibly sustainable is a path to improved profits assuming expenses remain at least static.
Greater competitive presence. By creating and sticking to a sustainability strategy, you’ll not only be able to boost your prices, but you’ll also have a good shot at improving your market share as well. The Natural Marketing Institute found that 58% of consumers will actively consider a company’s sustainability operations in making a purchasing decision therein. Better yet, you may well improve your business’ direct productivity. By making a goal to decrease fuel costs, for example, you’ll look for more efficient driving routes, which could also cut your maintenance costs and improve your delivery times.
Draw investors. Looking to improve your working capital? By offering a sustainability strategy, you improve your image with investors on at least some level. It’s not surprising that millennial investors would be willing to “put their money where their mouth is,” and invest in companies that reflect their values as investors. Even if they didn’t have a philosophical reason behind stepping up investment, the healthier bottom line you’d generate as a result of sustainability strategies wouldn’t hurt. That improves your odds of paying a good dividend and being able to maintain that dividend moving forward, making you an attractive bet for investors. Just to top it off, the investors you currently have may choose to put more cash behind you, satisfied with those positive fundamentals you’re generating.
Draw new potential employees. The same values that determine investment possibilities in millennials also reflect their choices of where to work. By offering a sustainability strategy, you let millennials effectively buy into sustainability, helping your sustainability efforts with their own efforts. Plus, if your sustainability strategy involves a lot of remote work—which reduces the need for you to have a big office that produces a lot of trash and demands a lot of energy—you open up the potential for a worldwide recruitment program and a whole lot of new potential employees.
Drive innovation. Having a strategy can work wonders in terms of driving innovation. A central purpose—sustainability, in this case—can get minds focused on that one particular point and come up with some ways to generate an end goal that no one may have seen before. These new techniques can become the focus of ad campaigns, white papers, and a wide range of communications fodder. Plus, you never know what new advance could prove not only novel, but patent-worthy, and thus represent an income stream for the company.
Better protection against regulation. The exact nature of regulations can change with each passing day. By setting up a sustainability strategy now, you future-proof your business against regulators that take on a particularly ecologically-inclined mindset by already working toward many of the goals they may set forth.
How to Get Help Creating a Sustainability Strategy for Your Business
While there are plenty of benefits connected with a sustainability strategy, no strategy can produce benefits if it’s not properly put together. To get the best chance at a sustainability strategy that will actually produce for your business, start by getting in touch with us at Edge Insights. Not only can we offer you a complete checklist to make sure you’re ready for a sustainability strategy, but we can also bring a range of environmental and energy services to the table to help you execute the strategy. Take advantage of everything a sustainability strategy can offer, and reach out to us today to get started.