A sustainable business
is built on a company’s core belief or value. It’s created on the very thing that underpins
the identity of the company – what the investors, customers and employees all
believe in, too.
But businesses still
have to make money, even sustainable ones.
Scott Blankman director for energy and air programs for Clean Wisconsin uses the clean energy sector as an example. He points out that as more businesses partner with the renewable energy sector the cheaper it becomes for them. Businesses benefit by investing now rather than waiting and incurring higher financial costs later on. The energy becomes cheaper but so too are the insurance costs and what Blankman calls ‘environmental impacts on businesses’ – extreme weather, logistical issues, etc.
It may be that you have to spend additional money now to benefit a year or five years from now. For example, if you were in the fitness industry then installing clean-energy generating equipment in a gym would not only save on greenhouse gas emissions, but it would also dramatically reduce electricity bills. The idea of scaling a business like this is something that most businesses try to do anyway, but when it means investing to improve eco-friendliness, it can make owners nervous.
The big success stories
are the ones that most people have heard of but there’s likely start-ups and
businesses in your area making money and increasing their sustainability.
Ben and Jerry’s – the
company is a huge advocate for environmental change and carbon offsetting.
– It uses solar panels to power its stores and contributes substantial amounts of
revenue into sustainable and environmental projects. Ikea is, however, also an example of how PR
can turn eco-friendliness into an asset. As the ecologist website
points out, everyone thinks of IKEA as being good for the environment(and
sure, it does a lot to reduce its impact on the environment) but their products
are cheaply designed and made of wood and plastic….
Patagonia – Patagonia has invested heavily into grassroots environmental campaigns and has been a vocal critic of poor governmental policies towards the planet. One of the most refreshing things about Patagonia is that it’s honest about its environmental shortcomings and is happy to be held accountable as it seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.
How to make your business sustainable –
This is powerful marketing. It’s telling your customer that you have the same values that they do.
Writing on the Business Insider website, Willis Wood, founder of Trade Show Emporium, says that it’s important for businesses to treat sustainability ‘like any business priority, with actual realistic metrics’. These metrics should be measured alongside the company’s ROI. Don’t just say you’re going to reduce the amount your business sends to landfill – look at what you’re doing now, make realistic targets and put structures into place to achieve it. Afterwards, look at the results for better or worse and improve them. Environmental targets should become an integral part of the business and not just something on a mission statement If you can make goals, then you can take action and bring results. If you’re using sustainability in your advertising, then you will have potential clients or customers ready to hold you accountable, and they’ll want real numbers so don’t disappoint them.
You should talk to your employees and customers to see what their ideas about sustainability are. They’re the eyes and ears on parts of your business that you might not see. It may give you a fresh perspective of where your business is doing well or doing poorly.
Measuring your carbon footprint and then working to reduce it is one of the most effective ways to change your business from the bottom-up. You need to understand exactly what impact you’re having on the environment everything from the number of toner cartridges you’re sending to landfill, to the amount of electricity your using and the number of miles you’re driving.
Even the most anti-environmentalist on the planet understands the power of PR. Aligning your businesses values with your potential clients and customers can build a business quickly and encourage loyalty (so long as you’re being genuine).
Sustainability and having a good brand story will attract employees. People want to feel a connection to where they work and they want to know that they’re working for a business with values. If you can attract and retain the best candidates, then your business will benefit hugely. No one wants to work for a company that doesn’t care about anything but a bottom line.
Sustainability isn’t just about what happens on your premises but throughout your supply chain. Hold your suppliers accountable for poor environmental practice and see how you can improve the sustainability of the items and services you use within your business. If the people you work with don’t want to change, then look for others who will.
Building a sustainable business isn’t going to happen overnight but it is something you should be thinking about today. Environmentalism has been overshadowed somewhat by the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic but if the virus has shown us one thing it’s how devastating a global event can be to global economies and businesses. Shoring up your business now by putting sustainability front-and-centre isn’t just the right thing to do for the environment, but it could help you gain customers and save you money in the long-run.
2020 already seems like
it’s been twelve-months too long, but it was only a few months ago, back in February,
that England and Wales recorded record levels of rainfall and widespread
There’s obviously a
natural deviation in temperatures and weather patterns but it does seem like
we’re breaking more weather records each year.
COVID-19 is a worrying reminder of how vulnerable we all are to global challenges. Many climate scientists believe the level of threat and disruption seen during this pandemic could be a taste of things to come unless more is done to combat climate change.
Equally, in an article published on The Guardian website said: “Martin Stendel, of the Danish Meteorological Institute, said the abnormal May temperatures seen in north-west Siberia would be likely to happenjust once in 100,000 years without human-caused global heating”.
activity is driving temperature changes in our planet. We all need to think about what we can do to
reduce that impact.
A lack of rain means moisture levels in the soil are low which will impact cereal crops. Lower water levels in reservoirs could also mean that without effective management there will be water shortages in the summer months.
The temperature increase
in Siberia is especially concerning because the region is home to the world
largest area of perma-frost and is already having an impact on local
infrastructure, agriculture and homes.
A recent oil spill caused by the warmer weather is an environmental emergency in the region and a severe threat to the local eco-systems.
What does this mean for the rest of 2020?
Different national weather agencies have different predictions.
Globally, 2020 is likely to rank in the top-10 hottest years with many believing it will secure a spot in the top-5.
Coca Cola cannot be
considered a sustainable company because what it is doing right now will have a
devastating impact on the environment for many years to come.
Although, it’s not
unrealistic to assume that it will have to change that policy. Before COVID-19, single-use plastic was the
big enemy and undoubtedly will be again.
Despite what Coca Cola is saying now, it’s likely its already looking
into more sustainable options because in business you have to give the consumer
the product they want or they’ll go elsewhere.
Gyms are no
Does Sustainability Mean for Gyms?
People don’t just want
sustainable products. They want
eco-friendlier services, too. In recent
years, there’s been a change in focus when it comes to why people exercise.
People aren’t only fixated on getting that result as they are on having
an experience and of feeling part of a community. Add into this the move
towards self-care, mindfulness, hygge, and veganism, etc, and there’s an
obvious need for connection and meaning in the things we do day-to-day. Sustainability plays right into this because
it’s about more than just what you’re doing; it’s about reducing the impact of right
now on the future.
It’s not to say that you
should throw out your MMA cage and start building a hot yoga studio, but you
can draw some lessons from more environmentally enlightened ways of thinking.
And there’ll always be
an intersection between fitness, health, and the environment.
For example, processed
food contributes to climate change; it also contributes to obesity, chronic
health conditions and early death in adults. All things that the NHS say can be massively
reduced by regular exercise. We know that obese
people tend to have bigger carbon footprints, too.
Poor air quality caused
by pollution in urban areas causes illness and an increased risk of death. If you’re going to the gym to be healthier but
then stepping out into toxic air pollution, then what’s the point? We also know that a gym can have poor air
quality because of cacogenic
equipment and industrial cleaning supplies.
You might also find that by making some small changes such as installing energy-efficient
lights, installing a smart-water system or selling sustainable products like
reusable water bottles and merchandise, you’ll have more money to invest back
into the gym.
It’ll help attract new customers as your
gym will stand out from the competition.
Word-of-mouth from advocates of environmentalism can be invaluable in encouraging
other people they know to try your services.
It can be hard to imagine the consequences
of climate change when so much of it seems to happen overseas (bush fires,
deforestation, sea pollution, etc) but your business can be affected by
events many miles from your location.
Coronavirus has shown how vulnerable the UK is to global emergencies. Adapting
your business to an eco-friendly approach isn’t just about
aligning with a mission statement or looking good for PR, it’s also about
taking responsibility for the part you play in creating environmental damage
and reduce the risk of it becoming the next global crisis.
Clients and consumers
are more environmentally aware than ever, and they’re choosing products and
services that align with their beliefs and lifestyles.
Green marketing helps
businesses create the stories behind their brand by delivering a positive environmental
message that’s not just about building a customer or client base, but about
creating a community.
is Green Marketing?
Green marketing is a way
of promoting environmentally friendly products or services to customers,
clients or investors. You might also hear it called eco-marketing or
Companies Are Using Green Marketing?
UK cosmetics retailer Lush announced in 2019 that it no longer uses eggs in its cosmetics because of cruelty in the egg industry.
The decision strengthens the company’s reputation on animal and environmental rights. It will have pleased many of its existing customers as well as attracting new customers who also align to that viewpoint.
Environmentalism is at the forefront of what Lush does and by offering environmentally responsible products, it’s marketing is made easier and more coherent because it knows its target audience cares about the same things it does.
Lush has built a strong brand identity that goes beyond just nice smelling products.
Patagonia is an outdoor gear and clothing store famous for its stand on sustainability and environmental protection. Its mission statement is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
The Content Writers
website points out one important thing about Patagonia – the honesty about
its shortcomings. It
still relies on fossil fuels for some of its items
but is working on reducing and eliminating that dependency.
Other examples of green marketing companies include:
The Body Shop
Impact can Green Marketing Have on Your Brand?
For example, you could add energy-generating
equipment to your gym.
Imagine the savings if you turned human energy into usable electricity
to power your premises or neighbourhood. You’d be helping to protect the planet
from carbon emissions and getting free energy.
Green marketers understand the importance of good PR. A brand can easily demonstrate its clean credentials by engaging with local and global environmental issues: supporting charities, donating volunteers to communities, developing new and innovative products and services.
Good deeds don’t have to go unsung. The environmental angle is ideal for social media and press releases; it shows a company is putting its time and money where its mission statement is.
It may cost more money upfront and has to be part of a long-term campaign.
Companies have to be genuine in their pursuit of a green reputation. Greenwashing (where a business either exaggerates or fabricates its environmental credentials) can cause serious damage to a brand. You don’t want your customers questioning your integrity.
You have to hold your company to a higher standard in the marketplace and that’s a challenge for some people.
do You Do Green Marketing?
Marketing tells the
story of your brand. Green marketers
understand that people want to feel a connection to the products they’re buying.
It could be out of a genuine desire to save the planet but it could also be a
way of alleviating environmental guilt – the penance for driving a
petrol-guzzling car, for example.
Use eco-friendly packaging, non-toxic or
organic materials, biodegradable items, or things made from renewable sources
or easy to recycle
Go digital and reduce the amount of paper
Use eco-friendly energy sources like
solar power to show off green credentials and save money.
Find ways to carbon off-set. It’s not a perfect method but it is one way
of reducing your impact on the environment.
Create products that can be re-used,
easily fixed or conveniently recycled.
Discourage the use of products that will quickly end up in a landfill.
Think about the entire journey of a
product from concept and design through to transport and production and look
for green opportunities at each stage. Include this in your brand’s story.
Join up with like-minded companies and
Be honest about where you’re at and where
you’re heading. You can’t save the
planet overnight so don’t sell what you can’t deliver.
Green marketing makes it
easier for customers and clients to engage with your brand. As well as giving them the option to buy
eco-friendlier products, you’re also helping to boost your sales, increase
brand visibility and create a community around your product.
And whichever way you
look at it, building a more environmentally friendly business is the right
thing to do.
Money could be raised to
help pay for the mix of grants and loans through several taxes including
digital tax, carbon tax, and a non-recyclable tax.
Whilst the deal does
have its critics, overall, it’s been well received. The devastation of COVID-19 across Europe, in
particular, highlights how global problems can create serious problems in EU
Guardian reports that in her speech, Ursula von der Leyen said
“sooner or later we will find a vaccine for the coronavirus. But there is no
vaccine for climate change. Therefore [we] need a recovery plan designed for
But with the US and China – the world’s two biggest polluters – ducking out of long-term environmental commitments, it’s difficult to say how effective the EU’s green policy will be in the wider scheme of things, but it’s a good start and it’s good to see a political institution recognize the value of a central green policy and not just as a short-term recovery plan but for the good of everyone for decades to come.