By Hannah Stevens
When it comes to the health and wellbeing of our planet, as well as that of future generations, there is no denying that we are at a critical point in our history. There is also rising concern and speculation over a potential recession and political instability. For years governments, corporations, and individuals have been ignoring the increasingly ominous warnings and alarms being sounded by the leading scientific minds on climate change and global sustainability. The time for talk is now over, and it must be replaced by immediate action.
Even though it is critical that we all act now to stop the increasing effects of climate change so we can soon begin the work to actually start reversing it, there are still a number of concerns and misconceptions (especially among businesses) as to which particular methods to employ and exactly how effective they would be. Sustainability is an amazing way to recession-proof your business and ensure long-term success for your brand. With that in mind, here’s how sustainability can future-proof your company.
Improved Consumer Confidence
There are a growing number of customers and clients in the world who make it an absolute must that any company they do business with or product they purchase come from a place of environmental responsibility. In the case of a recession, you need a loyal, dedicated customer base that loves your brand values.
We’ve seen the power of Gen Z and the millennial activist movement has gotten so large that they have been able to leverage previously resistant companies toward a more sustainable model simply due to the fact that their combined purchasing power was enough to affect their bottom line, including Chick-fil-A ending investments in controversial groups, and Victoria Secret canceling their fashion show after outrage over body inclusivity.
Increased Profitability and Reduced Expenses
One of the most commonly used and completely uninformed refrains we hear when it comes to making more earth-conscious decisions in the way people operate their companies is that it will cost too much money to implement and will eat into profits. Not only is this completely false, but studies have also shown that going green actually increases profit margins while reducing corporate waste and financial excess.
This comes through increased productivity of employees who feel more inspired by their companies’ environmental efforts, as well as reduced healthcare costs as a result of offering organic foods in cafeterias and vending machines, incentives to walk and bike when possible, and breathing cleaner air in offices with plants and better filters.
Influence with Your Neighbors and Business Competitors
Another instant benefit to converting your workplace into an environmentally conscious area is the fact that you will be in essence “forcing” your business rivals and other companies which share a building or nearby office space to keep up with you. Inspire others to move the needle with you and create the collective action we need for real movement on the climate crisis. Rather than using a recession as a reason to scale back on your sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives, use it as a competitive advantage.
If you are appealing to those people for whom sustainability is a crucial factor in where they go for products or services, your competitors will literally be losing profits simply because they refuse to do their part for the health of the planet.
Increased Recruiting Ability
Something else to consider besides the image this creates for you within the community and among other businesses is the message it sends to potential (and existing) employees. For many job seekers today, especially the younger ones which are in the highest demand, environmental responsibility is at or very near the top of their list when it comes to their expectations for a future employer. 75% of respondents to a Cone Communications study indicated that they consider a company’s social and environmental practices when considering a job offer and would accept a lower salary to work for a company with a strong sustainability program.
Corporate Team Building and an Added Sense of Family
Finally, when a company works together with its employees to create an atmosphere of earth-friendly policies and behavior, it increases productivity, morale, and overall joy and happiness to be working there.
Whenever a group of people, no matter how diverse they may be, join together in a task as important as developing sustainability in their workplace, it fosters closer relationships and a sense of familial bonding. Employees who are the most committed to their jobs put in 57% more effort on the job and are 87% less likely to resign. Devoted employees can help you discover creative business solutions during a recession and improve morale during market uncertainty. When you have all of these factors working in your favor, it should much easier to sleep knowing that you and your company are doing its part.