Velloe Socially Conscious Blog

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How Sustainability Leaders in Business Outperform

How Sustainability Leaders in Business Outperform

Sustainability is a growing field of interest in every industry. In the media, there’s always a story about the need to emphasize sustainability in our infrastructure, energy consumption, etc. Naturally, with it permeating all these aspects of our lives, sustainability in business is of high interest to consumers and companies alike. With the growing emphasis on a sustainable society, many people want products that help them continue this progressive change.

Companies are following suit and implementing sustainability policies. Many are beginning to realize the natural progression of a society that thinks of the environmental impact of all their decisions. But some are hesitant to make the transition. They feel there are barriers that make it difficult to implement those policies, as well as scepticism as to whether or not sustainability can improve their operations.

How Sustainable Businesses Succeed

Outperforming the competition

Companies that are sustainable do better in their market than companies that aren’t.

S&P 500 companies that have a solid sustainability strategy in place outperform businesses that don’t. This shows that sustainability is being implemented in the most powerful board rooms in the world, but what about small to medium-sized businesses?

Another study showed that over an 18-year period, firms that place a high value on sustainability dramatically outperform low-sustainability companies. Their processes are more efficient and their employees are happier as well. It should be pointed out that these are long-term gains, which confirms the notion many have that a transition to sustainability won’t make a difference in performance right away. However, there are many immediate benefits to both your company and morale, so there is short-term gain to be had.

How they’re sustainable

The sustainability leaders are usually implementing a company-wide strategy that creates a culture of social responsibility. This means that every aspect of their operations places an emphasis on environmental impact. But the lessons from the Fortune 500 types can still be used by businesses of all sizes. What are the key drivers they’re leveraging to lead on sustainability?

Sustainability leaders are 2.5x more likely than other companies to leverage the existence of current sustainable products to reach new customers and markets. Many retail stores have a variety of sustainable products, but they fail to market that socially responsible advantage effectively. Learn about your sustainable products and use them to find new customers.

Sustainability leaders improved employee retention and motivation due to sustainable business practices at 44%, compared to just 12% of all other companies. Implementing sustainability policies won’t just help you make the world better, it will make your business more attractive to employees.

Perhaps the most convincing argument for businesses to go green is to learn that 42% of sustainability leaders achieved higher prices or market share because of sustainable products. The market is growing and these customers are looking for places to spend their money.

Sustainable Money Field

Barriers to sustainability

While it’s easy for the companies that are already experiencing its benefits to continue riding the wave of sustainability, other companies feel barriers to entry prevent them from hopping on board. What are some of the biggest obstacles?

A quarter of all non-sustainable companies feel that their companies don’t have an organizational structure in place to support sustainability or accountability initiatives. Ingraining a culture of sustainability throughout your business will ensure that your operations have an incentive to stay green.

Another barrier is that close to 30% of non-sustainable companies feel that they are using the wrong performance indicators. That number is at less than 10% for sustainability leaders. Putting in clear objectives will keep your business on track in your sustainability efforts.

Interestingly enough, both sustainability leaders and non-sustainable companies indicated that the pressure of short-term earnings is at odds with the long-term nature of sustainability at about the same rate. That just shows that financial barriers present the same problems for those that are sustainable as for those that are not.

That’s why in spite of all the barriers, 30% of sustainability companies believe they’re capturing all the value they can, compared to just 9% of all other companies. This just goes to show that with a commitment to sustainability and a company-wide strategy to implement it, businesses can succeed in becoming sustainable.

The future of sustainability

With stats like these, it’s no wonder that sustainability is going to play a big role in the future of business. Over half of all companies believing that a strong sustainability policy is at least somewhat important to attracting and retaining employees. To attract the best and brightest, companies will have to enact organizational change with respect to sustainability.

There’s also an opportunity gap that is sure to close fast. While 74% of consumers understand what sustainability is, only 15% of them can actually identify a sustainable company. There is a large market of consumers waiting to be served sustainable goods, it’s just up to forward-thinking firms to deliver.

 

 

There are benefits to sustainability for both your bottom line and work environment. You will attract more, better employees. Your company will reach new markets, and you’ll save money in the long run. You’ll even feel better about your community, so look into sustainability today!





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