How will the increased drive for sustainability effect businesses?
Undeniably the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference was a high point for sustainability and the fight against climate change
with 195 countries coming together to negotiate the Paris Agreement. This has outlined plans to limit the increase of the planets temperature to 1.5c as well as laying down the need for more developed nations to support developing nations who are more reliant on fossil fuels for their economic growth.
As it stands now, and even when the signing of the agreement goes ahead in April of this year how effectively the Paris Agreement will be implemented is unclear. With no legal framework or enforcement to punish those states that are failing to live up to their agreements could this lead to more empty promises?
Although this is yet to be seen, but one aspect that is undeniable is the effect that the Paris Agreement and the drive for greater sustainability will have on businesses on a wider scale.
From the CEO of a multi-national corporation to a first time
business owner sustainability has implications and benefits. The need for
greater sustainability will force businesses to adapt and change their models
and how they operate. Leading to numerous advantages for the business itself as
well as adding to a positive global change.
Rather than just being seen within the realm of sustainability, it makes good business sense to reduce waste. Efficiency is key to sustainability and for businesses efficiency means increased productivity and decreased operational costs. Tactics such as reviewing supply chains and choosing greener and more local suppliers, while perhaps meaning increased costs to the consumer, are a massive step in increasing efficiency and reducing carbon usage.
Not all measures need to be as drastic as overhauling supply chain, even simple things like reducing printing waste, installing energy saving lightbulbs or using low tech solutions to reduce energy use such as protective window films can help to save a business thousands of pounds a year while also to reducing their carbon footprint.
While the Initial costs of changing to more sustainable
products, services and energy saving devices may be high, the long term
benefits economically and in terms of sustainability are clear to be seen.
Another important factor to consider is the positive effect on branding that sustainability has for a business.
The strongest brands are the ones that connect to the consumer on a personal level and as the general public becomes increasingly eco conscious they will continue to seek out businesses that care about their carbon footprint, giving them an advantage over their rivals that have perhaps been slow to change and adapt to the shifting attitude towards sustainability.
Businesses have to start looking further into the future, we are seeing a real global commitment to deal with climate change and because of that sustainability must become an integral part of every businesses.