Whereas profitability and maintaining a competitive edge matter, the long-term benefits of sustainability cannot be overlooked. Impressive profit announcements during a recession, increased consumer loyalty, additional environmental conservation ventures, and reduced pollution is just but a few of the long-term benefits. Consumers, on the other hand, have an ever-growing demand for green products in the quest for healthier lifestyle choices. Research has it that nearly 40% consumers are interested in knowing if their favorite manufacturers are going green. Thus, there has been an upsurge of consumer support and participation in eco-friendly business models. This article looks at five ways in which companies and consumers can support sustainability.
1. Supporting Climate change initiatives
Any business organization that ignores the impact of climate change does it at its peril. Changes in climate will affect all industries from tourism to Agri-business and manufacturing. Carbon gas emission from greenhouses, pollution, and carbon policy are all factors leading to global warming. Though the effects cannot be reversed, future impacts will largely depend on how businesses comply with strict government regulations, investment in more environmentally friendly types of equipment and finding alternative natural renewable sources of raw materials.
2. Compliance with regulations.
Going green has led to protracted battles between organizations, governments and consumer activist on the issues of compliance with stringent regulations. The law, though complex, is the only tool that can enforce sustainability. Companies that comply early with regulations benefit faster than those that are slack. Earlier compliance gives companies ample time to experiment with new sustainable processes and models that will yield the most returns. Due to the difference in law enforcement in different countries and states, adopting a standard policy within an organization or industry makes compliance easier and leads to greater benefits. The Harvard Business Review looks at how a blanket norm in a particular company has resulted in conformity and increased economies of scale.
3. Sustainable Value Chains
Eco-friendly production can only be beneficial if it trickles down to all its distribution and supply channels. Suppliers are part of this chain. Compliant firms can use incentives to encourage production of raw materials using environmentally friendly techniques. There have been cases of renegotiation of supply terms to include green methods of production policies ranging from waste disposal, carbon emissions, and efficient energy generation methods. Sustainable tools used include life cycle assessments, carbon policy management, and operational efficiency.
4. Green Innovation and redesigns
Recent surveys by companies have seen a few take up the challenge and address the needs of a few green consumers. Production and redesign of old products and services can positively protect the environment. Companies after an assessment on this niche group can either invent a sustainable product or redesign a previous one making its production less harmful to the environment. Surveys conducted by companies indicate that consumers would rather purchase goods that promote a pollution free environment than a low-priced product commodity.
5. New Green Business Models
Modern business models are more sensitive to what the consumers want holistically and not just selling them a product. According to Marlon Kobacker, the survival of firms lies in addressing as many customers’ needs as possible and not just altering one aspect of an old business model. Change in models also includes a change in technology and production methods that are more sustainable than they were a few years back.
Most executives grapple with the decision of whether to take up sustainability as a business objective or as corporate social responsibility. More consumers are aware and demand that sustainable production be part of the package. The earlier an organization goes friendly with the environment, the better. This is good for their quest towards the initial realization of returns.