The global economy is on a slow road to recovery after four tumultuous years and with this glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel comes renewed enthusiasm from business leaders and entrepreneurs to focus on medium to long term strategies, as opposed to short term ‘quick-fixes’ - this is where sustainability comes into play.
However, its time to stop thinking of sustainability simply as a way to ‘go green’ but rather as a core strategic principle that is going to help your business achieve greater profitability, success and recognition in 2014 any beyond.
FIVE REASONS WHY SUSTAINABILITY IS A GOOD BUSINESS DECISION
Corporate responsibility is a ‘pull factor’ for good employees
Gen Y employees are looking for more than bulging pay packets and bottom line profits. Instead they are motivated by job satisfaction, mentorship, and the ability to be creative. It’s proven that a business with a positive corporate culture - one with a social conscience – if far more appealing to young, talented and educated employees.
As Bridget Marsh writes for Creating What Matters, “The highly educated, mobile and tech-savvy age group that falls within the demographic band known as Generation Y wants a workplace that’s like them: urban, flexible, collaborative, environmentally sensitive and unconventional.”
Gen Y employees, unlike their Baby Boomer predecessors, aren’t looking for a nine to five office job that simply makes ends meet at the end of the month. Rather they are looking for a company that is an extension of themselves, a company whose beliefs align with their own, a corporation that values social responsibility and environmental awareness. By ignoring sustainability and corporate concern your business could be missing out on top talent, thus damaging your bottom line.
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Having a goal is good for corporate culture
While we’re on the topic of corporate culture, it’s worth pointing out that clearly defined goals are extremely good for developing a positive working environment. Just like setting personal milestones can help you achieve a sense of accomplishment and develop your skills, corporate goals will help your business flourish.
By setting clear expectations, objectives and targets for your employees – collectively and individually – you will see everyone working together towards a common outcome. This is good for business development, personal and professional growth, team building and job satisfaction.
Efficiency and waste management is always going to be good for business
Aside from corporate culture, sustainability should be considered not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because in practice it’s good for business. The core principles of sustainability include efficiency, waste reduction, energy saving, resource management and forward planning and any one of those ideologies, put into practice could result is substantial cost savings for your business.
Consumers, clients and customers are asking for it
‘Sustainability’ is a central buzzword in business at the moment, in fact you would be hard pushed to find a company mission statement that doesn’t wax lyrical about environmental and sustainable core values. With this in mind, being a sustainable supplier, operator or business partner can only be good for attracting clients and customers.
For example, a large fast food chain that emphasizes its own sustainable values won’t want to undo its hard work by working with a logistics firm that’s not interested in reducing its CO2 emissions.
Likewise, consumers - who just like Gen Y employees are becoming more alert to social and environmental concerns - are increasingly boycotting companies that are not seen to pull their weight when it comes to protecting the environment, its employees, or the livelihood of its suppliers. If your business turns a blind eye to its corporate responsibilities, its in danger of losing customers and burning bridges.
Get ahead of the game before regulation forces your hand
Another reason to focus on sustainability is regulatory requirement. Before long, sustainability won’t be an option, it will be obligatory and being ahead of the curve could save you a lot of money, not to mention downtime and disruption if new initiatives have to be implemented quickly and all at once. Don’t put your business at a competitive disadvantage or set yourself up for regulatory penalties; it’s always better to be one step ahead as opposed to playing catch up.