sustainability as a profit centerA new Aberdeen report serves as a roadmap for those attempting to match environmental and social stewardship to clear, actionable, and measurable improvements to their bottom lines – thus ensuring the sustainability of their business ecosystem.

by Julie Urlaub, Managing Partner of Taiga Company

In the face of increasing public eco awareness and widespread media coverage businesses can no longer ignore the opportunities, concerns and risks posed by not having a sustainable business strategy. Business sustainability is now both a top-line and bottom-line company focus.  Companies are implementing business sustainability plans that target revenue as well as cost reduction.

According to an Aberdeen Group study, The ROI of Sustainability: Making the Business Case, top performing organizations view sustainability as a “must have” strategy for long term business viability and success.  The top drivers for business sustainability implementation identified in the study include:

•    Desire for Social and Environmental Stewardship – 56%
•    Increase or Maintain Brand Reputation – 48%
•    Need for a Competitive Advantage – 46%
•    Stakeholder Pressure – 29%
•    Rising Energy Costs – 22%
•    Present or Expected Regulatory Compliance Mandates – 22%

While these drivers are appealing, business sustainability is best appreciated when viewed through the lens of your business.  Consider how business sustainability programs can help your business to improve sales, grow your business and differentiate your business from the competition.

Reduce business cost:
Sustainable business strategies of waste reduction, energy efficiency, and other operational efficiency measures reduce costs and enable competitiveness.   By adding general eco awareness or simply incorporating a few sustainability concepts into and existing supply chain as best practices, companies can proactively address supply stability and quality issues from a different perspective.

Improve Sales:
Business reputation matters. Developing and delivering commercially successful products and services that build customer loyalty are essential in today’s markets.
•    Integrate sustainability concepts into product and service development
•    Shift sustainability from a cost add-on to a value driver
•    Change perceptions to build stronger brands
The result: increase sales, new revenue streams, improved brand loyalty.

Stay ahead of the curve:
The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that greenhouse gases pose a danger to human health and the environment, paving the way for regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants, factories refineries and other major sources.   As a result, it has become critical for many companies to have comprehensive business sustainability strategies to address emissions.

While many organizations may have a strong corporate desire to demonstrate environment stewardship and corporate responsibility, companies most often have to make a strong business case to justify time and resources. Companies both large and small are learning first hand the value of integrating eco awareness into their operations, business strategies, and product deliveries.  Business sustainability is now both a top-line and bottom-line company focus.  Companies are going beyond the ‘feel-good’ and implementing business sustainability plans that target revenue as well as cost reduction.

Integrating sustainability concepts into core business functions makes companies more nimble in this fast-changing world.  It makes brands more attractive to consumers and retailers, and its management more respected by employees and the financial markets. In short, the drivers for improved business sustainability equate to improved performance.

© 2010, Julie_Urlaub. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Julie_Urlaub (7 Articles)

Julie Urlaub is Founder and Managing Partner of Taiga Company, a sustainability consulting firm located in Houston, Texas dedicated to accelerating the integration of sustainability concepts in business and daily living. Julie leverages over 15 years of Consulting and Business Development experience in Energy Management Services, Oil and Gas, Medical, and Information Technology industries. Today, as a sustainability consultant, Julie speaks, writes, and advises clients on a variety of issues related to the intersection between environmental stewardship, sustainable business practices, and sustainable living. Visit Taiga Company's website www.taigacompany.com

  • Bedanga Bordoloi

    The Drivers for Sustainability Integration is well stated .However, the ways of integration and serious benchmarking along with trendspotting will keep companies vibrant in this sustainability race .Value Creation from sustainability integration has to be viewed in the growth vs return on capital matrix .