Throughout our 12 years of supporting organizations to become more financially and environmentally sustainable, we have seen numerous examples of how this work manifests as a strong return on investment for the companies we work with.
Over the years you may have heard me talk about the main ways that businesses benefit from being environmentally active; tracking and measuring their impact on the environment, setting targets, and implementing changes to reach these goals. The four I most often discuss are:
- Reduced operating costs from lower energy loads.
- Risk management through proactively managing environmental actions and integration in decision making.
- Green branding that has meaning. Rather than just saying a company is green, take the time to actually measure and share your progress.
- Employee retention and attraction, because people want to work places that are aligned with their values and put their money where their mouths are!
For our network members, these changes continue to benefit their organizations and are some of the many reasons they choose to take action and commit to reducing their impact.
This recent article from Harvard Business Review, highlights more reasons for businesses to commit to sustainability and reap the benefits.
- Driving competitive advantage through stakeholder engagement. Sustainable businesses are redefining the corporate ecosystem by designing models that create value for all stakeholders.
- Fostering innovation. Redesigning products, services, and processes to meet environmental standards or social needs offers new business opportunities.
- Improved financial performance. Companies are realizing significant cost savings through environmental sustainability-related operational efficiencies. Moreover, investors are now able to track the high performers on ESG (environmental, social and governance factors) and are correlating better financial performance with better ESG performance.
- Building customer loyalty. Today’s consumers expect more transparency, honesty, and tangible global impact from companies. In fact, one study found that among numerous factors surveyed, the news coverage regarding environmental and social responsibility was the only significant factor that affected respondents’ evaluation of a firm and intent to buy.