[Sustainability Agenda] Investing in environment-friendly approaches in business? Here's why you've hit a goldmine

Many customers are now chasing after sustainable, eco-friendly, and chemical-free products, even if they have to pay extra bucks.
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In 2017, soon after Donald Trump became the President of the United States, he announced that the US would not comply with the Paris Climate Agreement (2015) as it might have a permanent negative impact on its economy. However, soon after, major US-based corporations like Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Unilever and Walmart signed a letter organised by the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) to urge him and keep the United States a part of the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

While after three years (as per the norms), the United States became the first nation in the world to formally withdraw from Paris Agreement and rejoined it after 107 days (30 days after Joe Biden succeeded Trump as the new United States President), the strong opposition of such business giants was a milestone in the right and sustainable direction. 

Needless to say, even giant corporations and businesses that are often focused on gaining a positive Return on Investment (RoI) are conscious of the dire state of climate change today. Not only that, a Swiss Re Institute's stress-test analysis has stated that the world economy will lose at least 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if stringent measures aren't taken to curb climate change. The question is: should other big corporations, Micro, Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), nascent startups and other businesses follow pursuit? Is it beneficial for them to invest in pro-environment activities/approaches in terms of positive RoI?

Against this backdrop, here are four key reasons why new-age businesses and leaders should not miss environment-related investments:

Because it will encourage positive customer engagement  

The changing mindset of the customers has always been challenging for businesses to comprehend. Those able to adapt to the change quickly attracted more customers and profits, while others stayed behind. Something similar is happening nowadays. Rising awareness, exposure to social media and, therefore global chitchat, and modern opinions have encouraged customers to make conscious choices as buyers. Many customers are now chasing after sustainable, eco-friendly and chemical-free products, even if they have to pay extra bucks. 

Buying organic and natural products is safer, healthier, and eco-friendly for both consumers and the environment, making them the best alternative.

Companies that are still lagging and forfeit to understand the importance of green and sustainable products will soon have a flimsy consumer base. People are making conscious efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

They are making intentional shopping choices while buying anything. If companies want to retain their customers, they have to understand the concept of conscious consumerism and develop their future strategies accordingly. 

Because it will help retain and attract a talented workforce 

In modern times, with the advent of social media, cutting-edge technology and rapid globalisation, there are no shortages of growth opportunities for talented and skilful people. Unlike before, when employees and job seekers were only after a stable and well-paid job and didn't care about anything else, people today are far more involved and interested in their company's values and standpoint. 

A Deloitte 2022 survey found that Gen Z and millennials are concerned about more than just salary packages, work atmosphere and professional development. They do not hesitate to reject an offer or resign if they think their employer's socio-environmental impact is not up to scratch. Clearly, if businesses intend to retain and attract skilful employees, they have to evolve. Unless they align themselves with these professionals' values and work ethics, retaining them will be a complexity. 

Because a pioneering idea can make you stand out 

Not all businesses have the power and vision to take the right step forward. However, in a business environment filled with leaders focusing on short-term profits, if a CEO has the courage to make pro-environment choices and look at long-term implications, then they can definitely create a niche for themselves. The company's senior leadership is responsible for collaborating with like-minded individuals and stakeholders to promote the idea of environment-friendly businesses. It is their job to sow the pro-environment seeds today so that the business can flourish even during the toughest of times. 

You reap what you sow

Considering the aforementioned points, it is crystal clear that companies making pro-environment investments today will reap tremendous positive opportunities tomorrow. By investing in the environment, leaders can essentially make necessary improvements and upgrades to ensure the sustainability and agility of their business for a prolonged period. In fact, they can use the pro-environment investment as a shield to steer clear of any unexpected price influx of non-renewable sources due to low availability (a highly-probable chance). 

Therefore, all businesses must jump on the bandwagon of pro-environment investment immediately. It is time to let go of short-term profits and look at the bigger picture. Proactively invest in eco-friendly initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, ensure sustainable growth and attract more customers - the mantra to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.

Edited by Diya Koshy George

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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