Sustainability business practices are the future. Implementing an environmentally sustainable model in your business today can build a platform for long-term growth.
A 2021 Deloitte study found that 28% of consumers have stopped buying products due to ethical or environmental concerns. These attitudes are particularly prevalent amongst Gen Z, meaning that it will become increasingly vital for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, or else risk alienating a growing chunk of the market.
The growing number of international environmental policies such as the Paris Agreement also legislate for corporations to act sustainability. Companies will soon have to adopt greener practices whether they like it or not.
Many business owners, particularly those running startups with less room for error, express concerns about the affordability of sustainable strategies. The good news is that it is now easier than ever to make the switch to sustainability. Evolving technology and new incentives from governments have facilitated this transition.
Going green is increasingly affordable, and it has the potential to net a high return on investment in the future. With this in mind, here are three ways to implement sustainability in your business and create long-term success.
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Embrace new technology
The era of green tech is here. From renewables through to AI, new technology is multiplying the possibilities for sustainability and will be key in the fight against climate change.
As Forbes reported in 2020, the market for environmentally friendly technology catered to businesses is growing rapidly. Green technologies are helping companies to cut their emissions and also reduce energy bills, meaning that sustainability can also create profitability.
Small businesses can easily take advantage of cloud computing, email programs and digital messaging services, and remote working opportunities to lower real estate costs and reduce their ecological footprint.
Businesses that require the use of company vehicles should consider the use of hybrid or electric cars. Rapid technological development in this field means that these vehicles are often cheaper than you would expect.
Take the cost of a Tesla, for example. Electric vehicles also offer cheaper fuel costs, and employers may also be entitled to tax credits depending on their region.
Make use of subsidies and tax breaks
National and international policy is increasingly mindful of the environment. Environmental laws should be at the forefront of any business owner’s mind. Rather than being a burden, new regulations offer an incentivized opportunity for businesses to switch to greener practices.
Businesses can take advantage of government tax breaks and subsidies to facilitate the transition. Many countries including Australia, the US, and the UK provide grants and other funding for businesses looking to become more energy efficient.
On the other side of the coin, additional costs are often levied on companies that continue to pollute, particularly through the burning of fossil fuels.
As Deloitte reports, these laws have enabled new renewable energy capacity to overtake new fossil fuel production in the US every year since 2013. By 2024, the US is expected to be producing four times as much renewable energy as fossil fuels.
As the use of renewables and other sustainable technologies continues to rise in the coming decades, now is the perfect time for businesses to go green and make use of various tax reliefs in the process.
Reimagine company culture
So far, these broad changes are at the macro scale. But sustainability requires effort from every individual in the organization. Adopting a company culture based around sustainability brings a number of benefits.
Namely, it can help to minimize waste and reduce energy costs. Furthermore, environmental responsibility promotes a positive image for your business which will, in turn, attract more customers.
The first step towards changing culture is education. Ensure that employees are aware of sustainable practices and understand their personal responsibility to reduce consumption within the business.
Hold regular meetings to evaluate the sustainability and encourage new ideas on areas for improvement. Finally, participate in local green initiatives and communicate this work through PR channels.
Taking these steps can be advantageous financially as well as ethically. Not only do many consumers value sustainable business practices and sustainable brands, but employees are also often more engaged and productive when working in these environments. It really is a win-win.
From technology through to government grants, there has never been a better time for businesses to go green, especially with remote work gaining popularity among workers of all ages.
The increase in public goodwill and decrease in energy bills that sustainability brings counterbalances any short-term costs, and provides your business with a platform for long-term success.