Sustainability is a term that we come across quite often these days but many still fail to understand its meaning or dismiss it as another empty buzzword. However, the truth is that sustainability is much more than a catchphrase that has become popular because it sounds good and makes us believe in the possibility of a brighter future for our planet.
Against the backdrop of rising climate change concerns and a more environmentally conscious population, sustainability has become an important trend and a crucial point of focus in the business world, driving major transformations across all industries and sectors.
According to a 2020 McKinsey US consumer sentiment survey, over 60% of participants stated they’d be willing to spend more money on products with sustainable packaging. More recently, a study conducted by NielsenIQ revealed that 78% of US consumers think that leading a sustainable lifestyle is important, while 69% of global consumers feel that sustainability has grown in importance over the past two years.
This conclusion is clear: sustainability has become an important purchase criterion for consumers and the demand for environmentally-friendly products and services is increasing. It seems that what’s good for the planet is good for companies’ bottom line as well. This means that companies and organizations have no other choice but to adapt to the consumer’s changing behavior and put sustainability at the forefront of their efforts if they want to remain relevant and competitive in their respective domains.
But what exactly can you do to increase your company’s eco-friendly credentials and convince consumers that you’re actually putting in the effort to pave the path to a better future and not just using sustainability as a marketing strategy to boost your revenue? In today’s intricate business landscape where greenwashing has become a common practice, building a sustainable brand is definitely not an easy endeavor, but it’s not impossible either. So, here’s what you should focus on as an entrepreneur if you want to make your company stand out as a planet-friendly brand.
Become an expert on sustainability
Nowadays, sustainability is on everyone’s lips, but only very few people know what they’re talking about. Sustainability is a complex and ever-evolving concept, but most conversations on the topic don’t go beyond a surface level. You can’t become a sustainable company in the truest sense of the word if you don’t know what sustainability entails.
Therefore, the first step towards building a sustainable brand is getting educated on the topic. Learning about how the concept developed, why it matters, and the challenges and opportunities that companies face when trying to go green will help you focus your time, energy and resources on implementing effective sustainability practices and arm you with the necessary knowledge and skills to make more informed business decisions.
There’s more than one way to turn your business green. Many companies try to reduce their carbon footprint by innovating their waste management strategies and implementing recycling programs. Some choose to partner up with companies like Greengiving and embrace sustainable marketing, while others concentrate on investing in energy-saving technology and using green energy to power their operations, supporting the communities where they run their operations and so on.
The point is you have to find the right combination of strategies and practices that work for your specific industry and your budget, and that can only be done if you have a good grasp of the concept and the available options.
Prioritize honest and transparent communication
As we’ve already mentioned, in an attempt to capitalize on sustainability without actually doing the work, a lot of businesses make false statements and share misleading information regarding the environmental impact of their products, services or operations in order to boost their image as a green company – a practice that is commonly known as greenwashing.
No matter where you find yourself on your sustainability journey, you have to be honest with your customers and present them with accurate information about the strategies you’re employing and the measures you’re taking in this respect. consumers will appreciate it more if you are transparent and open about both your strengths and shortcomings, instead of trying to deceive them into thinking your company is more sustainable than it actually is.
However, it’s also important to highlight your progress and achievements and let the world know you’re actively involved in making the planet a better place. Using eco-friendly promotional products like fliers or business cards made of seeded paper is also a small touch that can have a big impact in helping you build a reputation as a green company.
Set clear goals
Before you go around presenting yourself as an eco-friendly business, you need to figure out what sustainability means to you. You have no way of knowing if you’re going in the right direction or if you’re making any real progress if you can’t measure sustainability in your company. To do that, you first have to set clear goals and decide what you want to achieve and what steps you need to follow in order to get there.
Once you’ve decided on what you want to concentrate your efforts on, you’ll be able to assess your evolution, understand how far you have come and how much you still have to go until you reach your objectives.
Sustainability plays a crucial role in building a strong and resilient business, and no company can afford to ignore its importance. However, you can’t take the leap and start on the sustainability path without first knowing what actions you need to take in this respect. It takes time, effort and patience to build your reputation as a sustainable company, but the benefits are well worth it.