Category Archives: Consumers and Sustainability

Sustainable Businesses – How Important is Sustainability?

According to a United National Global Compact Accenture Industry Study, 93 percent of industry CEOs believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business. That study highlights the fact that sustainable businesses are becoming the new reality. We will now focus on four reasons why sustainability is so important for your business.

Sustainable BusinessesGood for the Environment

Sustainable businesses are good for the environment. Because of this fact your company should be concerned about sustainability strictly for ethical reasons. Caring about our planet should be enough motivation to adopt sustainable business practices.

Cuts Down on Energy and Waste Costs

According to an Ernst & Young study, “Six Growing Trends in Corporate Sustainability,” cost reduction was cited by 74% of the respondents as the principal driver of their company’s sustainability agenda. Sustainable businesses are able to cut down on energy and waste costs, which will in turn have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Helps Attract and Motivate Employees

The sustainability of your business practices can help with recruiting. While the minority of potential employees who don’t care about sustainability won’t care either way, the rest may – and it could be the tie-breaker that helps them choose to work with your organization. Sustainability can also help motivate your existing employees. In connection with this according to a nationwide study “What Workers Want in 2012,” conducted by Rutgers University and funded by The John and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, “Employees who feel they can make an impact on social and environmental issues while on the job are twice as satisfied with work as those who don’t.” Happy employees are productive employees. Happy employees are also more likely to stick around which will help increase your company’s retention rate.

Good for Your Reputation

Clients and investors are drawn to sustainable businesses. We already previously made reference to the 2011 Ernst and Young Study. In that study, 68% of all respondents felt that stakeholder expectation was an important factor in their company’s sustainability agenda. This is also highlighted by the following statement made in 2012 by Mary Wenzel, Director of Environmental Affairs: “Over 80 percent of our customers said it was important to them that we have an environmental commitment.”

That good reputation can also spread throughout the communities where your business locations are based. This could also potentially lead to positive media exposure. Since sustainability is the new reality, you can’t afford to overlook sustainable business practices.

Top 5 Practices that Save Sustainable Businesses Money

Sustainable BusinessesWith the way population is increasing and natural resources are depleting, something’s got to give. Luckily, it’s not too late yet to improve processes and make them earth-friendly. This is where sustainable businesses come in. Because of their capacity to endure and their minimal effect on the environment, they’ve become the ideal models for organizations to follow.

But sustainable businesses don’t just save the world — they also save money in the long run. Here are five sustainable practice that can help increase profitability.

  • Using renewable energy: Solar, wind, and geothermal energy are just some of the viable options known as “green power,” which are referred to as such because of their sustainability. Businesses can enjoy lower energy costs because of the increased efficiency of these alternative energy sources.
  • Administering regular maintenance: Buildings with no proper insulation lose a lot of heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. Resources go to waste and electricity bills reach sky-high when maintenance is neglected. But with proper care, heating/cooling systems become more energy-efficient regardless of the season.
  • Going paperless: Paper is consumable, so a company that relies on it most the time needs to have constant supply. But with so many apps now that bring office activities (such as managing meetings and sending out memos) to mobile devices, businesses that go digital save on paper costs.
  • Reducing waste: Businesses can reduce expenses with improved waste reduction. It’s good practice to invest in durable equipment, purchase products made from recycled materials, donate old electronics, etc. The goal is to waste as little as possible, both to save money and to decrease carbon footprint. Training employees to use resources wisely also goes a long way.
  • Giving back: It may sound contradictory at first, but businesses actually save money when they give back to the community they’re in. This is because people are more inclined to support businesses that exhibit corporate social responsibility. That kind of customer loyalty is something no amount of advertising can buy.

Sustainability is more than a buzzword. For many businesses, it’s a mission statement. Why shouldn’t it be? Sustainability is all about taking care of Mother Earth and cutting down costs at the same time. Everyone wins.

Nevertheless, business needs are not the same. A sustainable practice that works for a one business may not work for another. The best approach is trial-and-error. Start with small steps, and if they work, take the big leap.

Consumer Attitudes about Green Buildings and Sustainability

Today’s consumers live greener lifestyles and are committed to sustainable living for the long term. Corporations and organizations need to understand what these findings mean for their organization and any sustainable buildings.

Consumer Attitudes SustainabilityEarn a Referral
Each year, the Global Corporate Social Responsibility RepTrak study names the top 100 companies that are perceived to have the best corporate social responsibility (CSR) by consumers. They found that consumers are not only more likely to patronize a corporation they perceive to have a strong commitment to CSR, they’ll also tell their friends. An astounding 73% of consumers said that they would be willing to recommend a company based on their CSR, which include things like sustainable buildings, recycling and low energy consumption. It’s equally important to note that only 17% of these consumers would be willing to recommend a company that demonstrates poor corporate social responsibility.

Consequences of Irresponsible Economic Behavior
Consider the backlash against large companies that don’t adhere to the environmental norms and standards followed by today’s consumers. Nine out of ten consumers would boycott a company that knowingly engages in detrimental environmental behavior. Obtaining certification is a great way to let consumers know that the company cares about environmental issues, and could serve to refute any allegations that the company doesn’t care about its environmental impact. Sustainable buildings and businesses send a message to consumers that the organization cares about the quality of the environment.

Consumers May Pay More for Green
According to a green consumer study conducted by Harris Interactive, over 75% of consumers are making green purchases. Demographics for green buyers indicate that they are primarily in the 18-35 age range and tend to be a part of the higher income bracket. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that over 40% of consumers say that they are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Could this mean that sustainable buildings, green business practice and certification could justify an increase in cost that results in a more eco-friendly product? Consumers may agree.

What an Organization Can Do
For small businesses and corporations that feel they aren’t socially responsible, it may seem like it could costs many thousands, if not millions, of dollars to convert their facilities to a green building. However, simply obtaining a green certification that demonstrates the company commitment to recycling, sustainable buildings and other eco-friendly corporate practices may be all that is necessary to give consumers the confidence in environmental impact.