Everybody is talking about sustainability and business as usual doesn’t exist anymore. We need to change how we run our companies in order to protect both the planet and the people, but also in order to generate future profit. There are many reasons why your company should focus on sustainability, but I would like to emphasise three – saving money, access to more projects and building strong relationships with your stakeholders.
You save money
The easiest thing we can start doing immediately is stop wasting. And it’s not just about resources, it also about time, people, processes and all activities your business is engaged in. In order to analyse what and how the company waste today, it’s important to analyse the whole value chain and your activities.
The fact is that there is less access to all resources and they are more expensive. Both the corona pandemic and the war in Ukraine have contributed to escalating this development even faster. In addition to this we see that governments are starting to use fees and regulations on products and services that are not sustainable, so companies are forced to make more sustainable choices.
For some this can be an important competitive advantage and if you buy only what you need, use it up and recycle, it’s also a way of saving money. It’s all about moving from linear to circular economy and the fact that you reuse, repair, rental, recycle when it’s possible. It’s quality instead of quantity and it will save you time and money.
You get in position for more projects
The demands of running a sustainable company are increasing and reporting on sustainability will be mandatory in the future. Due to the EU-taxonomy the large companies are already being monitored, and the surveillance system will also affect smaller companies as suppliers and cooperating partners to the larger companies.
So, if your business can document that you focus on running a sustainable business, it will be easier for the larger companies to work with you. And if you are first or early mover in your market, it can be a real competitive advantage.
It’s important for your stakeholders
Your business has an impact on many stakeholders, not just your costumers. There are a lot of groups affected by your business. It can be politicians, employees, owners, shareholders, the local community and so forth. They can be internal and external and you need to consider the number of people in the different stakeholder groups and the degree of importance.
You need to understand all your stakeholders and you need to understand their problems, their issues and adjust your solution to fit their needs. When we meet their needs, we create a win win situation. The company become the problem solver, and will be considered a helping hand, a friend. In the end, our stakeholders can become attached to us and they will be future ambassadors. So, keeping the stakeholders happy is good for business. The importance of different stakeholders will vary from time to time, and it’s important that we recognize this and continuously evaluate and adjust our actions.
To sum it all up, sustainability is about balance. And in order to create a thriving and healthy business for the future you need to balance the three P’s – people, planet and profit. You need to commit and actively contribute to the essence of sustainability; meeting our own needs without compromising with the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It’s about causing little or no damage to the environment and creating a long-lasting business. And be transparent and communicate your results. It will save you money in the long run, you will be included in more projects and your stakeholders will applaud you. Good luck!
By Lotte Frost, Wingate Norway