Sustainable strategies in business have grown considerably in importance in recent years, with things like Corporate Social Responsibility evolving from secondary considerations to central elements of a business’ identity and purpose. But, for many of us the question remains, what exactly are sustainable strategies and why are they so important, not just in terms of external comms but also as a key way in which a business defines and understands itself? And, why is values-driven vital for long-term success?
In a nutshell, a sustainable strategy in business is a strategy that considers the effect that the business has on the environment or society. It prioritises a greater good that is beyond the business’ own bottom line, by effecting a positive change in the world it exists within. This may sound like a purely altruistic goal, and one which could be easily forgone in favour of more pressing, financial considerations – however, to assume so would be wrong. Any leading business strategist will confirm, you cannot use business to do good in the world if you’re not doing well financially. Doing well and doing good are intertwined, and successful business strategies include both.
Some of the reasons why sustainable strategies are both important and beneficial include;
By implementing them you will mitigate risk by protecting your brand against sustainability-related crises. No CEO wants to end up on the front page accused of indirectly polluting the environment or furthering social inequality, businesses will mitigate these risks by ensuring sustainability underpins all activities.
The market for sustainable goods just keeps growing. UK consumer spending on ethical goods reached a record high in 2019 and has continued to grow since. A poll of British adults conducted in summer 2020 found that not only are Brits willing to spend 12% more a year to ensure their household purchases are sustainable but that they also feel more engaged with environmental issues in lockdown.
Having a purpose makes you more compelling, both internally and externally. Businesses that stand for something have higher levels of employee engagement and advocacy, while also making themselves a more attractive prospect for customers, investors, and peers. A recent survey conducted in the US showed that 85% of business execs are more likely to recommend a company with a purpose than one without.
Businesses have the power to affect real change. Affecting changes in social inequality and environmental impact can be a monumental task, often seeming insurmountable as a result of the webs of policy, habit, and ways of thinking that solidify ways of thinking and acting. Businesses have the power and influence to make these kinds of changes real, often more so than governments as a result of direct access to supply chains and employee groups.
That all said, the above is really just the tip of the iceberg, CSR and sustainable strategies are based on a complex theory with clear action-able methods for implementation, a practical understanding of which will benefit any leader of business or industry hugely in terms of both her or his career and the success of the business. Contact our team today to find about more and book a place on College Green Group Professional Development’s Sustainable Business Strategies course.