Corporate sustainability is more than just a buzz word these days; it is the new way of doing business in a world that needs everyone to live in a more sustainable manner. Fortunately, businesses are getting onboard and there are a number of corporate sustainability trends that are setting the stage for what corporate sustainability means in today’s world. These include setting science-based targets, managing emissions from supply chains, and increasing environmental innovation in how to approach sustainability.
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However, despite the fact that more and more companies are getting onboard, corporate sustainability remains a somewhat complex terrain. That is why, we decided it was time to tackle the top seven most frequently asked questions on corporate sustainability and answer them here. With that in mind, let’s take a look at those FAQs.
1. What is corporate sustainability?
Corporate sustainability is when a company implements business strategies that have a focus on the environmental, ethical, cultural, and social impacts of every aspect of the company’s operations. This focus and its related business strategies must be in line with the sustainability of the company in terms of increased revenues and upholding stakeholder interests over the long-term.
2. Will sustainability cut into our bottom line?
No. In fact, sustainability will help you increase your company’s bottom line. There are many factors in this equation. The first, and most prominent, of these is the customer. Consumers today want to do business with companies that are sustainable, and 88% of them want brands to help them live a more sustainable lifestyle.
But it doesn’t just stop at the consumer. Companies are more likely to attract top talent and reduce employee turnover if they are sustainable. An incredible 75% of millennials, who will soon make up more than 50% of the workforce, would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a sustainable company. And 76% of millennials take a company’s social and environmental efforts into consideration when deciding where to work. In today’s competitive market, attracting and retaining top talent is critical.
In addition to the above factors, sustainable companies are more likely to attract investors and have better performance on the stock markets. Overall, companies that are sustainable show in 18% ROI over those who aren’t.
3. How can we become a more sustainable company?
Companies that want to become more sustainable, need to step back a take a look at their overall operation. There are many ways a company can be greener and operate in a more sustainable manner. From simple things like going paperless, reducing energy consumption or carbon footprint to investing in renewable resources and making significant end-to-end changes in your supply chain, you can contribute to a cleaner world and more ethical operations.
4. How do we measure our carbon footprint?
Measuring your carbon footprint is a complex procedure. There are many factors involved in a company’s carbon footprint, including emissions for the transportation of source material and the finished product, and the resources required during the manufacturing process.
Fortunately, there are carbon emissions calculators that allow you to input your data and discover what your company’s carbon emissions are. Of course, to use these calculators, you need to collect data such as:
- energy consumption;
- supply chain mileage;
- fuel consumption for all parts of supply chain and business operations;
- waste generation;
- water usage;
- water pollution.
5. Who are the stakeholders when it comes to sustainability?
When it comes to corporate sustainability, the stakeholders include the following:
- C-level executives;
- board of directors;
- transportation companies;
- communities involved in/affected by the sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing.
All these stakeholders are impacted, either with respect to their environment or financially or both, by the sustainability of your company’s operations.
6. How do we know our products are green?
There are a number of criteria that will let you know whether or not your products are green. The product is:
- made from ethically sourced, environmentally friendly materials that are sourced as locally as possible;
- made from recyclable materials whenever possible;
- made to have a long lifecycle and is recyclable at the end of that lifecycle;
- manufactured in a sustainable manner, including factors such as energy efficiency and ethical labor;
- transported using green transportation;
- packaged using environmentally friendly packaging materials and as minimally as possible.
7. Do we need to produce a sustainability report?
Absolutely. Producing a sustainability report has many benefits within the company and within the greater community. These benefits include:
- increased knowledge of the effectiveness of your sustainability program;
- the ability to relay information to help investors and boards of directors understand your sustainability efforts;
- the attraction and retention of employees who can see the results of your sustainability strategies;
- proof to the consumer that your company is onboard with sustainability and making a difference;
- an increase in company valuation and stock market prices.
Ultimately, the more you know about corporate sustainability, the better equipped you are to create and implement sustainable strategies that will put your company on the map as a green choice for the consumer. And if you are looking for more ways to make your company greener, click here to check out our eBook “4 Ways to Make Your Shipping Strategy Greener”!