Is Your Business on Top of Its Corporate Sustainability Initiatives?
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
With the global population expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030 and climate change concerns at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever for corporations to engage in efforts that help improve society and the environment—and it seems people agree.
According to a study conducted by Porter Novelli, 88% of employees believe it is no longer acceptable for companies to just make money; companies must have a positive impact onso society as well. As a result of this, many corporations are seeking out ways they can reduce their impact on the environment through the implementation of corporate sustainability initiatives.
What Are Corporate Sustainability Initiatives?
In short, corporate sustainability initiatives are strategies that focus on conducting business in an ethical, social, and environmentally-conscious manner. Sustainability in this regard can be broken down into three parts, often referred to as the three pillars of sustainability:
Ideally, a business will take all 3 pillars into account when creating a sustainability plan.
Why is Corporate Sustainability Important?
With the global population expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030 and climate change concerns at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever for corporations to implement efforts to help improve society and the environment. What’s more, 70% of Americans believe it’s “somewhat” or “very important” for companies to make the world a better place.
It’s even becoming a competitive advantage from a recruiting perspective. Socially- and environmentally-conscious workers prefer companies that are committed to sustainability and in some cases are even willing to take a lower salary. Given that we’re living through the “Great Resignation” it seems wise for companies to invest in whatever recruiting advantage they can.
How do Sustainability Efforts, Like Going Solar, Contribute to a Business’s Bottom Line
In addition to driving social and environmental change, corporate sustainability initiatives can, and frankly need to, contribute to an organization's overall success. While it may seem counterintuitive that increasing spending on sustainable business practices can boost a company’s profitability, studies show that the most sustainable companies are also the most profitable.
Let’s use solar as an example. A company that installs solar panels reduces its carbon footprint by using renewable energy. By switching to solar, they benefit from substantially reducing their energy consumption and costs.
However, corporate sustainability efforts can do more than lower energy costs. Companies that score high in Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics typically outperform the market in both the medium and long term. Compared to Boomer or Gen X investors, Millennials were significantly more likely to research a company’s role in improving society and environment before deciding to invest.
How to Create a Sustainable Corporate Strategy
When developing a corporate sustainability plan, the question becomes: how can we make money today in a sustainable manner without jeopardizing our future growth tomorrow?
Companies need to look for steps to rollout long-term strategies as they relate to the three pillars: environmental, social, and economic. Corporations can do this by working on internal practices to improve sustainability, partnering with suppliers, vendors, and other companies, and engaging with their communities through nonprofits, local organizations, etc.
What are the Most Effective Corporate Sustainability Tactics?
Companies that switch to solar can reduce their carbon footprint, lower their energy costs, and improve their brand image.
In addition, companies can also offer their employees discounted solar prices through Complete Solar’s +Impact partnership program.
Commercial buildings can cut their energy costs by more than 75% over a 25 year period by switching to energy-efficient LED lighting.
Perform an Energy Audit; Create a Plan to Address the Identified Issues
In order for organizations to reduce their energy usage and lower costs, they first need to gain an understanding of how their business operates and how it uses energy.
Use a White or Light-Colored Roof (vs dark roof)
White roofs can reflect up to 80% of sunlight and stay almost 90 degrees cooler on a summer afternoon compared to metal or dark-colored roofs.
Use Thicker Walls With Higher R-Value
Walls rated with a higher R-value provide better insulation, meaning it requires less energy to heat or cool a building.
Given today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to go paperless. Cloud-based technologies and personal devices such as phones and tablets make printing unnecessary. Save a tree.
Recycle; Ditch Plastic
It’s imperative that corporations look at ways to recycle as well as reduce their usage of plastics, particularly single-use items.
Overproduction from corporations produces waste that negatively impacts our air, water, and land. By focusing efforts on limiting overproduction, we can lessen the blow on our environment while also cutting production costs.