Sustainability in business:why it's important and how to be mindful in your Marketing
In our current business climate, we are seeing that profitability is not the only factor in being successful; a business must have ethical social and environmental practices to be sustainable. The sustainability (or lack thereof) of your business affects not only how customers perceive you and whether they’ll give you business (88% prefer sustainable businesses), it’s also a huge factor for investors. While consumers look to brands to help them live more ethically and responsibly, investors look for a company’s long-term success potential as informed by their impact on social and environmental change. A Nielsen report on sustainability concluded that “sustainability is no longer a niche play: your bottom-line and brand growth depend on it.” See below for ways to increase your sustainability by positively impacting people and planet. PeopleThe people affected by your company ranges from your employees, to the workers supplying goods or services used by your business, to the community at large. Consider the ways you can help your employees thrive in and outside of work; they’ll be better employees as a result. Increase the diversity of your board of directors and ensure small shareholders are treated well. Expand your community development efforts and get involved. PlanetCompanies have a huge impact on the planet, much more so than individuals, which is why it is imperative to take responsibility for protecting the environment. Investors pay attention to factors such as a company’s carbon footprint, water usage, and if the materials they use are sourced ethically. Consumers look at how eco-friendly packaging is, or if they can do business with you paperlessly. Assess, Compare, ImproveSustainability reporting has been around for decades, but has been less accessible for smaller businesses who lack the resources to invest in analysis and reporting initiatives. B Lab, however, offers an online platform called the B Impact Assessment to evaluate how companies interact with their workers, customers, community, and environment. Not only is it free to use, it is the most credible tool used for this evaluation. Visit bimpactassessment.net to assess where your company stands, compare yourself to other companies, and learn how to improve. Sustainable Promotional productsMake a statement with your giveaways by choosing items that promote sustainability. Opting for quality products will benefit you anyway; your branding will have much more exposure than a single use item. See below for some product ideas.