We’ve all read into being more environmentally friendly. But how much do we believe our business’ will be as sustainable as our products? The fear of busting over sustainability is real for those who have yet to learn how to yield it’s growing possibilities. Business as usual just won’t cut it anymore.

The key to a sustainable company with environmentally friendly products is to nearly reverse the perspective of what a “bottom-line” means. Instead of aiming for a bottom line, you must start with a maximum amount of investment and rely more on word of mouth. The most classic of marketing ploys will in theory, grow your user base through the understanding that your company is green. But is there any proof this works?

 

Of course! Unilever is a parent company that creates brands such as Dove, and SunSilk which promote products like washing-up fluids that use less water, or are made from materials we all can pronounce and know well. Which has impressed the consumer enough to allow them to expand more sustainable brands under their industry umbrella. Thus the opportunities are endless, which companies are now taking notice of.

Even though the details of maintaining a sustainable company can get a little complicated, the ideals are not that difficult for executives to understand. After the first and most essential hurdle of acknowledging that sustainability as a high priority is overcome, the business model is not difficult to figure out. So simple in fact that in a McKinsey survey of 340 executives, more than 90 percent of them said that a sustainable risk management plan is what drove them toward green initiatives.

 

Once the decision is taken, define priorities, set measurable targets, evaluate costs and benefits, and create consistent incentives, including those related to executive compensation. It is important to define targets that are both specific and achievable; it’s better to say “Eliminate X million pounds of packaging,” than the vague “Reduce the footprint of our packaging.”

To think of sustainability as a niche is the wrong approach. To do it right, companies need to be rigorous, goal-oriented, and accountable. The evidence is building not only that sustainability initiatives work, but that they are an important factor in creating long-term value.

 

Written by: EW