Sustainable companies benefit the planet and their wallet

April 22 is Earth Day. Almost all countries have been celebrating our blue planet together since 1990. A day dedicated to sustainability. Environmental protection in companies: That sounds expensive, time-consuming and actually has nothing to do with your industry? Sounds logical, but it's a fallacy. Sustainable action attracts new customers, saves money and is sometimes even subsidized. We know why it's worthwhile for every company to act a little more environmentally conscious. 

Large companies such as H&M, BMW, Siemens, Unilever and even banks like BPN are focusing on sustainability, winning awards and documenting their environmental successes. Consumers have come to expect this kind of corporate responsibility. In a recent Statista study, the largest proportion of respondents said that the presence of a climate protection seal was very important or important for companies, while only 9.6 percent said that a seal was not important at all. But is environmentally conscious action also worthwhile for smaller companies and service providers?

89 percent of customers value sustainability

The vast majority of consumers would like companies to operate in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner - a total of 89 percent ("Sustainability in Focus" Rothmund Insights, February 2021). A study by LBBW Research found that companies in the consumer and retail sectors that operate sustainably increase their EBIT margin.

Customers are happy to pay more if sustainability is guaranteed, for example if a construction company works with certified green materials. The trend that is emerging among customers is continuing among employees. In a 2020 IUBH study, 56.5 percent of respondents said they value an employer that acts sustainably. Young people place particularly high value on how sustainable their employer is.

How do customers find out about environmentally conscious measures? Various seals (like the Bluesign, Fair Wear, Cradle to Cradle - the list is endless!) help consumers find sustainable products and service providers - from textiles to vacation trips. Companies can report on what they are doing to protect the environment on their own websites and with the help of social media.

Social media are an excellent way to address your own corporate responsibility and build trust online.  

 

Sustainability affects the wallet - in a positive way

Convincing new customers and strengthening the loyalty of existing customers is an important goal. However, there are even more tangible reasons to make companies more sustainable. Some steps are in fact easy on the wallet. Sockets with switches save electricity, and no lights need to be on in rooms that are not in use. Digitization saves vast amounts of paper and storage space, and fewer stamps are needed if mail is sent electronically wherever possible. Most invoices today can be requested in digital form only. The paperless office is the office of the future. Bicycles and public transport passes are cheaper than a company car, and those who enable their employees to work from home save huge amounts of money. Meetings with colleagues can take place online to save on emissions, travel costs and travel expenses.

Sustainability is subsidized

Depending on where your company is located, programs may be available to you. Many countries, counties and cities offer great opportunities to small businesses, wanting to go green. So it's worth considering what adjustments can be made. Modernizing the workplace, overhauling the vehicle fleet - resourceful entrepreneurs can research online to find out which subsidies they are entitled to. It's worth checking not only the internet, but asking local officials for pointers where to look and inquiring with banks to see if they offer specific loans for sustainable ideas.

Sustainability helps the planet and the business

Ecological business management is not only good for the planet and the conscience. We are leaving a better world for future generations and can also score points in the classic entrepreneurial sense, gain customers and increase sales. Seals let potential customers know how environmentally friendly your company is. But the right seal is not available for every good deed. In that case, it is worthwhile to use your own website to tell customers about the steps you have already taken toward a healthier earth. Customer reviews also offer space for feedback. For example, ask your customers to also review environmental issues if they are close to their hearts. That way, your reputation will soon be a good, green one.

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