5 Ways Your Business Can Benefit From Adhering to Sustainable Development Principles
Everybody talks about sustainable development, but only a few speak about its real benefits.
Sustainable development is aimed at a better and more sustainable future for all. Compliance with sustainable development principles is more perceived as an obligation imposed by the international community.
But it’s just one side.There are several examples and studies that prove that commitment to sustainability is more than beneficial for business.
The sustainable development concept has 3 main points: economic, environmental and social. In September 2015, the UN adopted a “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” resolution with 17 sustainable development goals. They are aimed at making the world a better place, but how does adherence to these principles exactly benefit entrepreneurs? Let’s take a closer look.
1. The average check is growing
People are willing to pay more for an eco-friendly product. According to research, millennials are more than twice as likely as baby boomers (75% versus 34%) to declare changing their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. As a result, they are willing to pay more for products made from natural components (90% versus 61%). They are also ready to buy services from socially responsible companies (80% versus 48%).
This, for example, has long been understood at H&M. The company provides you with information about what recycled material the product is made from. It also teaches clients to handle clothes in a way that does not harm the environment.
Amid global concern for the planet, following the eco-trend helps attract new audiences. People no longer want to buy — they need a feeling of being connected to something meaningful for the world.
Related: The Business of Sustainability
2. Costs are being reduced
In 2005, Walmart identified the transition to completely renewable energy sources and zero waste as one of their top priorities. Seven years later, Walmart saved $231 million due to efficient waste management and recycling planning to save $150 million more thanks to renewable energy source projects and a zero-waste program.
NYU Stern School of Business investigated the correlation between financial performance the implementation of sustainable development policies in companies. 59% of respondents confirmed the improvement or stability of the results in comparison with traditional investment approaches, and only 14% declared a negative financial result of innovations.
3. Talented professionals become more loyal
Your employees and customers will soon be from the same generation, if not already. Young people are looking for a meaningful job that brings value to society. The best talent is looking for an employer who has a clear vision of their contribution to the global economy and sustainability. Implementing the UN targets will attract and retain talents.
Numbers released in 2019 shows that 70% of working-age Americans out of 1,000 people surveyed make a job-offer decision based on the company’s sustainability plan. 30% said they quit their jobs in the past because the company did not have a sustainable development plan.
4. Local officials take you more seriously
A company that has become part of the ecosystem of a particular area and has officially invested millions in public infrastructure (e.g. hospitals), gets more assistance. Helping society gives a business additional reputational points, not only among the community and employees, but also in regards to the state.
A fresh company with an unformed reputation does not have such points. If, for example, you want to build some object, then the building permit is likely to be given to those who were systematically improving the local infrastructure.
5. The insurance cost gets lower, and getting visas becomes easier
If there’s no information about the business, the insurance company will assign high-risk coefficients to it, simple as that. If the business is rooted in the form of projects that are consistent with the goals of the UN in the territories where it operates, it is perceived as a reliable partner.
This is the same with obtaining visas. Embassy staff monitor applicants' employers. If the company properly highlights itself publicly, operates legally and makes a significant contribution to the development of the country, then getting a visa is much easier.
Sustainable development projects make life easier, speed up negotiations and some paperwork. Sustainability speaks to the maturity of a company, and attract partners and customers who are close to such a worldview. Making sustainability the backbone ultimately improves the world beyond theoretics.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor