08 Sep Sustainability in Business: What Does The Future Hold?
It is a well known fact that environmental issues are becoming increasingly important to businesses all around the world. Many companies are feeling pressure from their customers and stakeholders alike, to improve their social responsibility. So what can you do to improve sustainability in your business and become a leader in your industry?
Why is sustainability in business important?
The obvious reason that businesses should care about sustainability is the impact it can have on the environment. In current news, the devastating fires, floods and other natural disasters occurring all over the world are linked to increasing greenhouse gas emissions and climate change worries. Business energy consumption is much higher than personal consumption so it is important to make changes and become a leader in your industry. Businesses now have a duty to protect the future of our planet by investing in more sustainable practices.
Furthermore, McKinsey reported that 89 percent of companies with high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings outperform the market in the medium and long term. Another interesting report by Aflac quoted that 77% of consumers are more willing to purchase from a company with a CSR pledge. So not only can you make a difference to the future of our planet but also the future of your business.
How can you implement more sustainable practices?
“Sustainability” can be interpreted in many different ways. For your business it could be as simple as upgrading to more eco-friendly packaging, or it could be a complete redesign of your business model. It could be installing solar panels at your office or it could be gaining sustainability certifications. The most important thing is that you are making steps in the right direction, and your consumers and investors will appreciate that.
In fact, some businesses are now using sustainability as a market differentiator. In the generation where consumers are starting to be much more conscious of their contributions to the planet, having good CSR and ESG ratings can boost your brand above others. So when you do create a sustainability pledge, make sure it is visible to consumers.
What is the future of sustainability in business?
The future can only look bright if we all take responsibility for our actions and make changes now. Businesses have a social and ethical responsibility to implement more sustainability initiatives and create pledges for the future.
I also spoke to Tati Martinez, a student at UC Santa Cruz. She has just finished a sustainability internship at Paia Consulting through Absolute Internship, and I asked for her take on the future of sustainability in business.
Tati’s Take on Things
I interned at Paia, a sustainability consulting firm based in Singapore. Throughout my 8 weeks there, I was able shadow long-term employees to learn about the more technical tools of sustainability through both internal and client related projects. As Paia’s work revolves around integrating sustainability into all types of businesses and organisations, I was able to study different industries and their relation to sustainability issues and how they’ve adapted to them.
After gaining direct experience working with several different clients in varying fields, I believe sustainability has a future in all areas of business. There has been a dramatic rise in sustainability related ratings, certifications, and policies available in the last decade. This, along with a market with a growing demand for sustainable integration, the future of sustainability lies in a more well-informed, adaptable generation of consumers.
[If you are interested in gaining experience in the sustainability industry, check out our internship programs here!]