As the private and public sectors continue to develop their sustainability plans to demonstrate their commitment to the environment and the wellbeing of their communities, the private sector faces the challenge of ensuring the long-term viability of their operations and the wellbeing of their clients and consumers. A well-thought-out sustainability plan assists a company in operating its business responsibly while achieving a healthy bottom line.
There are many benefits to having a sound corporate sustainability plan:
- Market Advantage. Brand reputation can be directly enhanced by a sound sustainability plan, helping a business market its potential to prospective investors and partners, and achieve stakeholder buy-in. A good example is IKEA Group, a company with a passion for life at home. Their People and Positive Planet, IKEA Group Sustainability Strategy for 2020 contains their vision in creating a better life for all. IKEA’s market advantage among other companies is that their first driver in product development is low pricing, an outcome of well-rounded and innovative sustainability planning. The IKEA brand is becoming synonymous with sustainable and cost-efficient products. Leontyne Green Sykes, CMO of IKEA North America believes that “true innovation comes from quality furniture that is affordable by everyone.”
- Stakeholder Engagement. Engaging stakeholders helps businesses gather more input from them on how to become more sustainable. It is with stakeholder engagement that Coca-Cola Enterprises shows that they value the opinion of their stakeholders. According to their Coca-Cola Enterprises Sustainability Plan, they work with stakeholders in many areas, from product development to recycling, in order to meet stakeholder expectations. Coca-Cola applies their Golden Triangle partnership approach to engage their stakeholders, covering the public, private and civil society sectors. Long-term dialogue with various stakeholders provides essential inputs to their decision making and helps them to continuously improve.
- Opportunities for Innovation. Businesses aiming for environmental, social and financial sustainability will accomplish these goals through innovation. Unilever, with more than 400 brands focused on health and wellbeing, believes in innovation and collaboration. The purpose of Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, Scaling for Impact is to make sustainable living commonplace. All of Unilever’s innovations are centered on key insights into what consumers want and need. Their innovation process goes through research, development and product launch.
Having a sustainability plan paves the way for the creation of sustainable products and services. It enhances brand reputation and increases competitive advantage. A sustainability plan improves the final product while increasing productivity due to sustainable business practices. Efficiency in operation by conserving resources helps save time and reduces costs. Companies with sustainability plans have the ability to turn goals into reality. Businesses need a sustainability plan in order to adapt to the escalating tide of environmental challenges.
FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) is a leading sustainability solutions provider to organizations both locally and globally. We help businesses recognize sustainability as a main driver for practices and regulations, and help manage sustainability processes by providing solutions for operational efficiency, growth and sustainability. To learn more about developing your organization’s Sustainability Plan, watch our webinar.