Plenty of sordid stigmas have torpedoed their way through corporate boardrooms and the media at large. MIT reported in a 2011 study of 3,000 corporate leaders that 70 percent of them integrate sustainability practices in their permanent management docket.
Although it can be an ugly tug-of-war between the dreaded threat of profit loss vs. the upkeep of an environment that can sustain us long term. Managing Director of Water Stewardship at Coca-Cola Greg Koch spoke at an investor meeting about Coca-Cola’s assertive water sustainability plans, emphasizing that the hundreds of millions invested are not simply “green washing, philanthropic nice-to-have initiatives,” he goes on to underline “These are initiatives that impact our profitability.”
Mark Vachon, VP of GE’s Ecomagination delves into the debate, assessing that there seems to be this stigma that businesses have to choose economics or environmental performance, and that simply isn’t true. Companies who don’t embrace these innovations may even risk irrelevancy, not to mention the resources they may damage on their way down.
Accessing Long-Term Risk Reduction
Sustainability means integrating long-term practices and procedures that contribute to a cleaner, greener world. Those that go above and beyond regulations are the true wave-makers in the new era of the business world. In terms of risk reduction, aside from the popularity generated by enthused consumers (green is moving up the totem poll of consumer concerns), environmentally gentle and clean energy practices allow for long-term success models. Siemens, for example, has abandoned their investments in dirty energy, and the strategical shift had no negative impact on the company’s overall sales, according to Siemens spokesperson Alfons Benzinger. Conversely, companies that have been polluting have left the U.S. With over 1,300 toxic Superfund sites on the EPA’s National Priorities List. Remediation company Sevenson Environmental’s CEO Michael Elia has already overseen clean up of over 1,500 sites rendered too toxic for human safety.
Most of these sites have been the result of careless disregard of chemicals and practices that were never assessed for sustainability. Many of the corporations that caused the destruction have gone bankrupt, often from the lawsuits holding them responsible for the destruction they caused.
Product Influx and Consumer Loyalty
As sustainability as a long-term strategy evolves across industries, so does the demand for safe, healthy products. The public’s bottom line is shifting steadily in the earth’s favor. A survey by Cohn and Wolfe reveals that 35 percent of consumers across many countries are willing to spend more for green products, but almost all of them prefer green products. Engagement and media attention is also growing in the direction of social and environmental accountability for companies worldwide, as D S Simon Productions reports, responsible companies tend to generate 35-50 percent more positive media coverage across genres.
Inciting Investor and Talent Interest
Sustainability is the future, and both investors and young up-and-comers know this. A study by GIIRS Ratings and Analytics revealed that investments rose 325 percent for socially and environmentally responsible enterprises. They also noted a bold shift from a “do no harm” attitude to a “do more good” attitude, which has the potential to spawn countless positive changes. Furthermore, a MonsterTRAK poll revealed that a whopping 92 percent of young professionals are much more interested in working for a company that values environmental sustainability. Green gives them a reason to be passionate about what they do. Integrating sustainability into the evolving business world should be just as important a bottom line as profit.
An entrepreneur, Sharon looks for new ways to pitch business ideas and get new fans. She does all of her ranting and raving about entrepreneurial guidance from her home in Adelaide.
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