As the reality of the climate emergency becomes clearer every year, thinking about and acting on sustainability is no longer a nice-to-do but a must-do for all businesses, from the smallest start up to the largest multinational.
While everyone wants to play their part, the reality is that sustainability is complex. It’s common for businesses to get side-tracked by the easy wins like charity work and green initiatives in the workplace. It’s also easy to get overwhelmed with endless terminology, like CSR, ESG, SDG’s, net zero, carbon neutral and circular economy, as well as the daunting thoughts about how real change might affect your business model.
Sustainability can’t be ignored. It can’t be side-lined into one corner of a business.
Because it’s a complex issue, it needs a holistic response, and that includes communications. Having real dialogue in your organisation and sharing you story are essential. As the threat of climate catastrophe becomes clear, so too are the opportunities presented by a true sustainability strategy, both for your business and the world around you.
The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development simply as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainability isn’t just about sacrifice, it’s about real change that benefits everyone. Consumers want more than paper straws and low-energy lightbulbs; they want to know that the businesses they deal with are considering sustainability across all aspects of their operations.
This means not only looking at their supply chain, their carbon footprint and their use of natural resources, but also the impact they have on society. Examining your business through that lens creates huge opportunities not only for efficiency, elimination of waste and tackling reputational and regulatory risks but also driving innovation, meeting consumer demand and recruiting and retaining employees. As business sustainability leader Andrew Winston said: “sustainability creates business value. Some things we do will pay back more quickly than others, but yes, it’s about business value — lower costs and risks, more innovation and enhanced brand value. It’s about building better companies.”
Neglecting sustainability is now a major risk for business.
It’s clear that transformative regulations are in the pipeline, as we have seen from our very own Climate Action Bill. Consumers are more conscious than ever before and are willing to move their business to companies that align with their values. According to The Irish Retail and Consumer Report 2019, 41% of Irish Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
All this may seem daunting but remember that this is a journey. You don’t have to have all your answers at once, but the important thing is to start thinking about sustainability today. Springboard Communications can work with you to start a conversation about sustainability within your organisation and help you understand the risks and opportunities for your business. We can connect you with the right experts to help build an achievable, effective sustainability strategy. We will then develop a bespoke communications plan to share your stories with your key stakeholders.