Why Executives Need to Prioritize Corporate Sustainability
Corporate sustainability is increasingly popular. In fact, a recent study showed that 80 percent of businesses have established internal environmental sustainability goals. Yet creating goals is not impactful alone. A report from 2022 found that most big companies are falling short of sustainability targets and exaggerating their progress. More businesses need to incorporate sustainability into their strategy and 2024 planning, but at the same time more executives need to ensure that reaching sustainability targets is a priority.
The private sector has immense power and potential when it comes to helping the planet. Recent data and news stories have shown that reducing emissions and pollution are as critical as ever. While many individuals are concerned about their own contributions to climate change, the reality is that businesses make up the majority of carbon emissions and waste. There is an opportunity for businesses to rethink their operations and to work harder to reduce their negative impact, and if more companies do so, the effects could be felt globally.
Executives, though, often have more pressing concerns than saving the planet. Ultimately, running a profitable business is their number one priority. Luckily, profit and sustainability are not at odds. In fact, corporate sustainability has the power to boost business success in a few critical ways.
Improving Operations and Eliminating Waste
Businesses waste 30% of the energy they consume on average, according to some estimates. This is much higher in certain industries, such as restaurants, who use 5 to 7 times more energy per square foot. This is the result of inefficient practices and equipment. Rethinking operations and investing in energy efficient equipment can eliminate this waste and significantly lower energy consumption. It’s a simple way to help your business’s bottom line.
Equipment upgrades like LED lighting and energy efficient HVAC units are some of the most significant ways to cut emissions. But there are plenty of opportunities to reduce energy waste at every level of operations, from electricity-powered or hybrid delivery vehicles to work-from-home days that can keep employee cars off the road. Some businesses can also install solar energy panels to reduce the amount of energy they need to buy from fossil-fuel sources. Rethinking operations can also involve buying from more eco-friendly suppliers, or eliminating single-use products at the office, which can also cut costs in many cases as well. There are countless simple ways to lessen negative environmental impact while also eliminating waste and cutting costs. They can all add up to a big difference.
Attract Consumer, Talent, and Investors
As mentioned above, most businesses are not prioritizing sustainability. That means the ones that do can gain an advantage. In competitive industries, every penny saved can put you ahead of the competition and ensure your business has the most longevity.
At the same time, making real strides to lower your carbon footprint can have other positive impacts beyond direct savings. Focusing on sustainability can help a business attract loyal consumers, top talent, and even investors.
Investors are increasingly considering climate change and other ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors into their business decisions. That is largely because, as they consider future potential, they understand that sustainable businesses come with less risk. One example of this, of course, is the growing and often unstable prices of fossil fuels. From a more zoomed out perspective, climate change itself poses a risk to businesses, as extreme weather events can cause serious, costly damage. For these reasons, more investors around the globe are seeking to decarbonize their portfolios and invest in companies dedicated to doing the same.
At the same time, individuals are taking sustainability more seriously as well. Studies show that consumers are increasingly keen to spend their money at businesses who can demonstrate their efforts to help the planet. Similarly, employees are more likely to take an offer from a company they perceive to be green. Acquiring customers and attracting top talent are key ways to get a competitive edge and to cultivate long-term business success.
Avoiding the Upfront Cost of Sustainability
In 2023, talking the talk no longer cuts it. When it comes to corporate sustainability, businesses need to walk the walk, too. And frankly, businesses who do not incorporate environmental goals into their strategy—or who do not put considerable effort into achieving their goals—are doing themselves a disservice. The business impact of focusing on these goals can be felt quickly. When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint with energy efficiency and renewables, the fiscal impact can be felt almost immediately.
Some businesses may struggle to justify the upfront cost of these changes. Investing in EnergyStar appliances or solar panels costs money, and especially for large or multi-location businesses, the capital required can be prohibitive. Not to mention the logistics of installation and maintenance. Fortunately, there is a simple, scalable solution.
Working with an energy-as-a-service (EaaS) provider like Budderfly makes sustainability upgrades easy by removing the need for any upfront capital. We pay for and install the highest performing energy-efficient equipment and solar panels at no cost to our clients. Plus, we use our innovative energy-saving technology to monitor energy performance and provide full transparency to our customers for how much energy they are saving—and valuable sustainability metrics such as how much their carbon footprint is being reduced.
We work with 5,000+ businesses and large franchises across all 50 states to make sustainability possible without companies having to use their own financial and time resources.
Curious how we make this work? Want to hear about some of our biggest success stories? Contact one of our experts today to learn more.