Climate change is an inevitable result we are facing due to humankind’s treatment to nature. Studies show that the Earth is in an environmental crisis. Every year, our planet faces droughts, floods, melting glaciers, and heat waves. Many species are in danger of extinction due to these phenomena. 

Experts have been warning us to take action to heal the environment. Many organisations realised they can do well without harming nature. Thus, they started to pay attention to environmental crises. Likewise, many climate activists protest against the businesses that harm our planet. In 2018, Greta Thunberg made a groundbreaking speech at the UN Climate Action Summit. She addressed the governments and businesses around the world in her speech. 

With the awakening of the business industry, many brands have adapted to the new trend of converting to a greener business. Initially a trend, sustainability is a necessity today. To meet new market needs, business models are also shifting to greener models. 

What Is Sustainability in Business?

Sustainability is simply conducting your business without harming nature or society. Sustainable businesses manage the environmental, financial and social needs, and concerns in order to achieve responsible and ethical success. For instance, reducing  waste and using renewable energy sources are effective ways to become sustainable. 

In traditional business models, social and environmental concerns conflict with financial goals. Ergo, they are often neglected. However, the concept of sustainability brings new perspectives into business models. Many businesses tend to coordinate their demands and their financial goals. There is also the assumption that sustainability helps the vitality of a business. 

On the other hand, receiving a return on investment may take longer in sustainable business models. You may put loads of money in an idea and not make anything out of it yet. Be patient! Trust the process and your profitability will increase. You will attract  more investors and customers. 

Why Is Sustainability Important?

Sustainability not only helps heal the nature, but also your business. The environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics are used to analyse organisations’ sustainability. Many investors pay attention to these factors. For example, they question a company’s footprint, or water usage, before they make an investment. The companies with higher ESG tend to be more successful in the long term. Below are some factors why sustainability is important in business.

  • Environmental reasons: The amount of natural sources are decreasing every day. In order to improve the life quality, we should implement sustainability into the business world. It is essential to assure people that they can have a clean and green environment while their needs are met and there are still natural sources for the next generations. 
  • Economic continuity: Being sustainable ensures economic growth and safety. A growing economy can meet the needs of a society and raise their living standards. It can also prevent potential economic crises in the future. This is not only beneficial for the society but also for your business. 
  • Social sustainability: Sustainability in business plays a role in social sustainability. This concept involves public health, education, fighting against poverty, providing social justice and so on. Therefore, societal sustainable developments in your business can have a positive impact on the society. 
  • Protection and development of your brand: You can improve the reputation of your brand by embracing sustainability. Stating your concerns about environmental crises and taking actions can create trust with your partners and customers. A well-planned sustainability development is likely to bring you many opportunities in business.

How Can You Embrace Sustainability?

Define the objectives and find the problems

First things first, set your company’s objectives of sustainability. Make sure you know what sustainability means to your team and your customers. Then consider the problems that hold priority, and come up with greener solutions. 

Set your mission

The next step is to set your mission. A sustainable business requires specific missions. Look for new and effective missions to make an impact. Make sure that your company mission includes your values and purposes. 

Choose the correct strategy

For every company, a different strategy can be the most suitable. Once you set your mission, you need to choose the best strategy for your company. The most important thing to consider here is your company’s profit. You can only achieve your sustainability goals as long as you are in business. 

The downside is that sustainable products are likely to cost more. Therefore, you should remember that not all customers want to pay more. Although, several studies show that many customers are willing to buy more expensive products because they are environment-friendly. So, with the right strategies, you can overcome this issue.

Brands That Chose Sustainability

  • Unilever: The British company invested in sustainability and has already started to receive back. The company follows a programme called Sustainable Living Plan. This plan sets sustainability goals for energy use, waste, recycling, etc. Unilever has already reached its previous goals. The next step is for them to have zero emissions from their products by 2039. 
  • IKEA: The Swedish furniture company is one of the brands that target sustainability in its supply chain and operations. IKEA uses half of their wood from sustainable forests. One of their goals is to use only renewable energy and become 100% sustainable by 2030.
  • Nike: Recently, Nike has stepped up to be more sustainable. In fact, the brand had the opposite reputation at first. Their motivation to go green was the ESG ratings about their supply chain and production. In order to reduce waste, Nike redesigned their boxes and packaging materials. The brand also invested in energy-efficient equipment to reduce chemical waste. 
  • Pepsi: The global brand switched to a greener business model to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other causes of climate change. Their practices aim to reduce the need for natural sources. Their current plan is to decrease the amount of sugar and fats in their soft drinks by 2025. This way, they will use fewer sources, and the drinks will be healthier for customers. 

The Bottom Line 

The new trend for going green is rapidly spreading. It is essential not only for the environment, but also for your business. By adopting sustainable measures, you can improve your brand image, attract more investors, and leave a healthy environment for next generations. 

Consider the parts that your brand requires more sustainability. Set your mission and share it with the people around you. Find the proper strategies, and start your journey. Eventually, you will have a good run for your money. 

About the author

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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