However, with increasing pressure coming from consumers who are more aware of the issues surrounding sustainability, ignoring the issue is no longer an option.
Many major corporates are now pursuing ambitious sustainability plans and science-based carbon reduction targets. The RE100, a collective of large multinationals dedicated to reaching 100% renewable energy, has grown to 224 members.
SMEs, however, have an equally important role to play. UK SMEs represented 47% of private sector turnover in the UK during 2016. Without their collective efforts, wider net-zero targets for the country as a whole are impossible.
Fortunately, improving your sustainability can also be an opportunity and if done correctly, can become part of your competitive advantage. Sustainability is a growing part of the decision-making process of almost all of your key audiences, customers and partners, so getting your house in order now offers a host of benefits down the line.
Becoming more sustainable can seem expensive. Instead, look at the issue as being less wasteful, cutting down on unnecessary waste reduces costs, while also appealing to customers.
62% of executives believe that a sustainability campaign will be crucial to remaining competitive in the current business environment, it says. However, for many SMEs, where to start with a Sustainable Development Policy can be daunting.
It doesn’t have to be that tricky. To begin, think carefully about the things in your business operations that are impacting most significantly on environmental issues.
Does your business rely heavily on transport, or have staff that conduct long commutes each day? Is your office still heavily reliant on paper documents or have high energy bills even when your day-to-day activity isn’t particularly energy-intensive, as with most office environments.
By identifying key areas, a plan can be effectively formulated to unlock opportunities for improved sustainability, often in tandem with a reduction in costs through eliminating waste.
As this develops into an effective sustainability strategy, you can help your organisation improve and maintain reputation, attract and retain customers as well as securing better margins in an increasingly competitive market.