The COVID19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities across all sectors around the globe. Challenges in health care delivery, supply chain management, food security, and employment, to name a few, have been felt by everyone. And although the world is still in the process of figuring out what it would be like post-pandemic, the World Economic Forum urges to use this moment as an invitation for “a great reset”. This means that organizations can use this time as an opportunity to rethink how they can run their business in a more equitable and sustainable way.
The concept of the triple bottom line was introduced by John Elkington over 25 years ago which suggests that businesses not only operate for profit, but to also contribute to gains for people and the planet. This shift is also driven by the realization of business and organization leaders that the unlimited consumption of the earth’s limited resources can bring more harm than good to business operations.
Now, with the push of the COVID19 pandemic, companies are shifting slowly and consciously to more sustainable frameworks that give equal, if not more, importance to social and environmental impacts. The two most prominent organizations that have set standards in sustainable practices are the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and B Lab which gives companies B Certifications.
At this point, it has been established that applying a sustainability framework can help companies and organizations hit their triple bottom line. The list below can further elaborate the benefits a company can get from having sustainability policies and processes in place.
1. Costs can be reduced by cutting back energy consumptions
Electric consumptions can be a huge chunk from a company’s operational expense. Installing energy efficient light bulbs and assets and shifting to renewable energy can help cut costs back. Acquisitions of energy-efficient assets can be costlier, but compounded energy savings will be significant in the long run.
2. When redesigned, waste disposal systems can be beneficial
Evaluating waste disposal systems and rethinking how to efficiently dispose or reuse wastes can also be beneficial to companies. Several manufacturing companies in the electrical and clothing industries like Apple and Timberland have found ways to collect and reuse scraps and incorporating them back into the production process. According to Hays Journal, the WWF center manages to “produce 50 percent of its water by collecting rain and recycling 'used' water”.
3. Sustainability promotes and encourages innovation
Transitioning to more sustainable means in doing business may mean that products, processes, or systems will need redesigning in order to incorporate new methods. By doing so, companies can encourage innovation and creativity among their employees and suppliers.
4. Companies can attract employees
The young generation of workers entering the workforce prefer to be part of a company that has a sense of purpose and sustainability. In a research done by The Case Foundation and Achieve last 2014, Millennials prefer to join companies are involved in causes and see their contribution to society. According to the survey done by Deloitte, Generation Zs, who are now entering the workforce, “no longer forms opinions of a company solely based on the quality of their products/services but also now on their ethics, practices and social impact” which includes diversity, inclusion, and sustainability.
5. Companies can attract investors
Since 2012, Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing or SRI has dramatically increased because investors have started to consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria of companies into their assessment and portfolios. Research also shows that countries who have assets in sustainable investing have more than doubled suggesting that investors can also expect growth by investing in companies with sustainable practices. In short, companies who have sustainable practices in place also increase their market value.
6. Customers are attracted to companies with purpose
Now having their own purchasing power, Generation Zs and Millenials are now making companies push forward their sustainability agendas because of their green choices in consumption and purchases. Consumers now not only consider the exterior qualities of products and services but also the impact it gives to society and the environment. In a global research done by Nielsen last 2015 across 30,000 consumers from 60 countries, it showed that “65% of total sales of consumer goods measured globally were generated by brands whose marketing conveyed commitment to social and/or environmental value”.
7. Employee Productivity can increase
Sustainability does not only put customers and investors in mind. Applying sustainable practices in the workplace can also be beneficial for employees. Providing healthy choices to employees can translate to a decrease in sick days and an increase in their productivity. Sustainable workplace design such as providing green space, utilizing natural light, and healthy food choices in the cafeteria can contribute positively to an employee’s emotional and mental wellness.
8. Compliance with regulations
Several national and local governments in countries all over the world are starting to put laws and regulations in place to protect the environment. Thus, having sustainable practices within companies will be beneficial in navigating and complying to such protective measures.
Having sustainable practices in companies can also benefit communities around businesses. If such practices are implemented, solutions can be provided around issues such as unemployment, access to education, clean water, and healthcare facilities. Impact investors have also influenced governments in creating public policies that will benefit both companies and communities.
10. Ensures Business Continuity
All businesses rely on natural resources in one way or another. Water is essential and so is the land where businesses are built on. If limited natural resources become depleted or if disasters hit the business community, it will also be hard for businesses to operate and thrive. Thus, implementing sustainable practices also ensures continuity in businesses by saving or renewing resources on hand and by instilling measures in preventing and preparing for calamities.
For the longest time, businesses have been looked upon as just profit-making machines. However, because of the shifts we have been experiencing, from climate change to the pandemic, businesses, as well as communities, have become aware that in order to survive and thrive, sustainability should be prioritized, and measures should be in place. Several large corporations and small to medium enterprises are already integrating and implementing sustainable practices in their processes and workplaces. Investors are also recognizing the importance of having environmental, social and governance components in organizations. If sustainability is to be viewed as an investment and a part of a new and better normal, companies will surely hit their triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.
Envirotech Education is an Australian Registered Training organization (RTO) registered by the Australian Skill Quality Authority (ASQA) and produces graduates knowledgeable and skilled in designing, developing, and implementing Marine, Environment and Sustainability programs.
To learn more, visit our website: www.envirotech.edu.au
Our team is passionate when it comes to Environmental Sustainability. If you would like to know more about our courses, fill your details here.
You will be contacted shortly by a member of our team
We could not send your message. Please try later or contact the administrator