With the pandemic that has dominated everyone’s attention in recent months and has affected many economic sectors, why should companies decide to be environmentally responsible in 2021?
Being environmentally responsible is, above all, a choice. It means basing decisions on values related to respect for the environment, of course, but also on human values. With climate change having concrete effects on many, the impact on people across the planet is at stake.
There are countless reasons for environmental responsibility: leaving behind a viable world for generations to come; reconnecting with nature; eating healthier by reducing pesticides; the feeling of making a difference, etc. This also applies to businesses, but there is even more in it for them, and that’s what this post is all about.
Value Added for Businesses
Most companies want to be recognized as forward-thinking and innovative. Why not become just that by doing your part on the environmental front? Indeed, the reputation of companies that adopt eco-friendly practices allows them to better position themselves in comparison to the competition.
For customers and consumers
Environmental responsibility will soon become a requirement on the part of customers. In fact, according to data collected by Nielson, 81% of people believe that companies should show their commitment to green practices.
Consumers, who are making more and more efforts to reduce their ecological footprint, tend to look to companies that promote the same values and back them up through their actions. Many consumers are even prepared to pay more for a product if it’s offered by a company that is recognized as environmentally responsible.
Not only do customers and consumers prefer environmentally responsible companies, investors are increasingly interested in green businesses. In fact, some portfolios and investment funds are specifically dedicated to this category of business. Being environmentally responsible can therefore become an interesting lever to establish your credibility and gain access to new business opportunities.
As the labour shortage continues to take its toll, the adoption of environmentally friendly measures is attractive when it comes to the employer brand. Indeed, through the integration of environmentally responsible practices into its mission, a company can be recognized for the positive impact it has on society, which can further interest workers. Attraction, retention and engagement of employees can therefore be facilitated.
Cost and risk reduction
Being environmentally responsible doesn’t mean giving up being profitable; on the contrary. By reviewing various procurement, production, delivery and even service practices through an environmentally responsible lens, companies can optimize their processes while reducing costs in terms of energy, raw materials and manufacturing products. While making these changes may represent an initial expense, the return on investment is usually worth it.
By innovating and applying various environmentally responsible practices, businesses also reduce the risk of not complying with environmental regulations. They therefore make sure to minimize the financial impact that could result from bad practices on their part or on the part of suppliers.
How can a business become environmentally responsible?
Becoming environmentally responsible is a process that requires real commitment. And this is not only true for big companies, especially when we consider that SMEs are responsible for 70% of total pollution.
Local procurement and ethical sourcing
There are several different facets to going green. Local sourcing—from companies that are themselves environmentally responsible—is one such solution. Choosing raw materials that generate less pollution or eco-designed products is also part of a sustainable development approach.
Another aspect to consider when going green is undoubtedly the type of energy used by the company. A company’s environmental footprint can significantly be reduced by using energy-efficient equipment or by adopting practices aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels (delivery using electric cars, grouping of shipments, etc.), thus also reducing costs.
Rethinking packaging of products is also a big part of the solution. The key is reducing quantity, especially since recycling is not always efficient. Over-packaging is a problem that is sometimes underestimated, but truly addressing this issue can have a significant positive impact on the environment.
Certifications and carbon programs
Numerous organizations are offering their support as part of a green shift through official certifications that help to better identify environmentally responsible companies.
In addition, individuals, or small to large companies can become carbon neutral by offsetting their greenhouse gas emissions. Several programs are offered and may be suitable for various situations. First, an environmental footprint analysis is performed and various options are presented. Most of them offer natural climate solutions such as reforestation or riverbank restoration to neutralize the impact on the climate and ecosystems.
Companies have a duty to become environmentally responsible, for the well-being of humans and the planet. Indeed, the environment is everybody’s business.