What is a Sustainable Business?: The Rise and Impact of Sustainability

Creating and maintaining a business that is sustainable is a net positive in several ways. Aside from the ability to work alongside the planet — rather than against it — with eco-friendly policies and processes, sustainable businesses can be incredibly profitable. 

In fact, in today’s world, sustainability is a key element of many of the most successful businesses.

What is a Sustainable Business?

A sustainable business is one that intentionally reduces, or limits, its negative impact on the planet through a number of concerted efforts. These efforts could include; manufacturing and selling eco-friendly or biodegradable products, heading social events or initiatives to support better individual practices. It can even include donating a portion of products to organizations that are dedicated to environmental causes. 

The Rise and Impact of Sustainability in Business 

A recent survey by McKinsey found that 70% of surveyed businesses included the concept of sustainability within their business model and practices. In addition, McKinsey also found that many of the most prominent businesses in industries like packaged goods and infrastructure are more engaged with sustainable business practices today; they actually are way more engaged than they were even two years ago. 

Even board positions like Head of Sustainability have gone from limited responsibility and ability to expansive outreach.

It’s clear to see that business sustainability is at the front of most companies’ collective minds today; from CEOs of major corporations to small business owners around the nation. Sustainable business practices are not only becoming the more ethical approach. These practices also represent the changing values and preferences of the consumer.

Corporate sustainability isn’t just the next buzzword. The tides of public consumption are changing; there are many reasons why you should consider creating a sustainable plan for your business. 

6 Benefits of Becoming a Sustainable Business 

Not sure whether redesigning your plans with business sustainability in mind is the right move for your company? Let’s explore 6 key benefits your company could enjoy when you create a sustainable business practice. 

Better Brand Image and Competitive Edge 

After surveying a sample of over 52,000 consumers in the U.S., the Natural Marketing Institute found that 58% of today’s shoppers take a company’s environmental impact into account when they are considering which goods and services to buy and where to buy them from. 

With a survey size that expansive, it’s clear to see that a majority of American consumers have sustainability on the brain!

In addition, today’s online shoppers tend to prefer a brand that actively supports their local communities; whether it’s through donations or outreach efforts, according to the Cause Marketing Forum. 

Many of the most successful businesses incorporate a mixture of community connection and environmentalism. By doing so, they further increase their credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of the consumer; this also goes along with a competitive advantage over similar brands that don’t incorporate these practices. 

A Boost Employee Productivity and Lower Costs 

Some companies insist that sustainability in business isn’t worth the potential dip in corporate profits. However, this dip can be counteracted by the enhanced efficiency that sustainability can create in business operations. This will ultimately employees more productive and reducing production costs.

Even actions as simple; as limiting electricity usage, increasing wall insulation, and installing geothermal cooling and heating can make huge impacts. Though some of these may come with upfront costs, the long-term savings will more than justify the momentary expenses. 

Easier Compliance with Regulation Policies 

The nation’s leading scientists and environmentalists agree that the issues of climate change and fading natural resources are more pressing than ever. Therefore, both the state and federal governments are enacting important policies and regulations in order to limit harmful business practices.

Prioritizing sustainability in business sooner rather than later will make it easier for your company to abide by these policies. 

More Interested Investors and Employees 

Sustainability in business has become associated with positivity and success. Just like anyone would, employees and investors alike want to be connected with up-and-coming endeavors, especially younger generations that are used to the messaging that surrounds environmental conservation.

Sustainable business practice shows your potential investors and employees that you respect the environment, which often translates into respect for the people who work for and alongside your company. 

Less Waste Produced 

Reducing waste has come a long way since the inclusion of recycling bins in office spaces starting in the 1990s. Companies can reduce their waste and support conservation habits by going paperless, replacing traditional lightbulbs with LED alternatives, and reducing raw materials used in manufacturing.

More Satisfied Shareholders 

Sustainability in business does more than lower production and daily function costs—it can result in increased profitability for your company. 

After researching 40 distinct companies with the goal of understanding how sustainability challenges or benefits businesses in 2014, McKinsey found that companies with sustainability at the forefront noticeably outperformed similar companies on the market.

Additionally, McKinsey’s Carbon Disclosure Project determined the current value of a theoretical investment of $1 made in sustainable business in 1993 to be $22.60 by December of 2010. Conversely, had the same investment been made in companies without a sustainable focus, it would have grown to $15.40 by the same month and year.

With figures like these, it’s clear to see that sustainability is a lucrative business move in addition to being the most ethical way to interact with today’s economy. This is why intentional sustainability translates to increased profitability and satisfaction for business owners and their shareholders. 

Increase Sustainability with a 3PL 

Navigating the process of incorporating sustainability into your business can be a challenge, especially for small business owners.

In situations like this, hiring a third-party logistics company (3PL) can be a game-changing move. 3PLs are designed to efficiently and effectively handle a variety of business operations, from production to inventory management to shipping and fulfillment. This allows you to focus on creating effective marketing and connecting directly with your customers. 

Want to learn more about what a 3PL could do for your business in particular? Contact us today to request a free quote for service.