Along with cities and communities adopting policies to become sustainable, businesses are taking a bigger role in building sustainable practices as well. Growing inequality, the pandemic, and other factors have pointed a spotlight on why businesses need to take steps towards sustainability, especially since more customers are choosing brands with sustainable products. Below, we’ll discuss what sustainability in business means, why it’s important, and a few examples of sustainability in business.
What It Means to Have Sustainability in Business
One of the goals of a business having a sustainable strategy is having a positive impact on society. This means the companies must assume responsibility for the impact they have on society by providing opportunities for advancement for minorities and women, lack of discrimination, providing a thriving wage, providing affordable health care and other benefits workers need.
Businesses must also have an awareness of what impact they have on the environment. This includes optimizing their supply chain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, using sustainable materials in their manufacturing process, and switching to renewable energy sources for their electricity, heating, cooling, and transportation needs.
Why Is It Important for Businesses to Embrace Sustainability?
The biggest reason for businesses to embrace sustainability is their customers. These days, the majority of customers make their decisions based on sustainable choices. If the brand they normally purchase isn’t taking steps towards sustainability, they will find another brand that is sustainable.
Not only does embracing sustainability improve the reputation of the business, but there are other advantages. Sustainable business practices not only helps a business to retain employees, but it helps to create new jobs within the business. Businesses that enact sustainable policies also lower their water usage, which reduces water wastefulness and consumes fewer fossil fuels for electricity.
According to research from GetSmarter’s global report, ‘Sustainability: The Meaning, Changing Perceptions and Expanding Agendas’, shows that 63% of respondents are making lifestyle choices with sustainability in mind, a 10% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Before discussing three sustainability in business examples, it’s important to note that in a global survey of over 7,8000 people, 90% of respondents wanted to hear about the efforts that companies take to become more sustainable while 70% of them wanted companies to do more.
Ben and Jerry’s has a long history of fighting for environmental sustainability, which includes investing in efficient supply chains to lower their footprint and running global warming advocacy campaigns. One of their programs helped farms adopt sustainable practices for raising cows without growth hormones and their foundation supports communities.
Bank of America has a program encouraging their employees to act as environmental advocates no matter where they are. Bank of America also created a goal to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 50% and waste by 35%, but they achieved carbon neutrality in 2019 for their Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Since 2005, PepsiCo has presented annual reports about its sustainability goals, which encompass environmental sustainability, human sustainability, and talent sustainability. With their environmental sustainability goals, they work on minimizing their footprint by designing 100% of their packaging to be recyclable.
To succeed in today’s world, a business must become sustainable and follow sustainable practices. The results won’t come immediately and you may have to change your approach more than once, but the outcome is worth the effort for you, the environment, and the community.