06 Dec The Sustainability Pressures
There are mounting pressures on businesses to become more sustainable and they increasingly come from outside the boardroom. What are they & why should we respond?
Public Opinion. There can be little doubt that public demands for businesses to “do more” are on the rise and cannot reasonably be ignored.
If you choose to ignore it, you are risking a sustainability backlash from which no amount of PR will protect you.
Our Families. Demonstrations, school strikes & civil disobediences in support of the planet & greater sustainability are on the rise, and most noticeably among our children.
You ignore this collective at your peril!
Employees. Whether recruiting or retaining staff, their sustainability expectations are on the agenda & in a wave that cannot be dismissed.
As your business matures you will increasingly depend on attracting & keeping the best young talent. Don’t risk them rejecting you because your sustainability profile is weak.
Regulation. The consensus amongst legislators is that, in response to evidence & their electorate’s demand, greater regulation is a question of “when”, not “if”.
Stay ahead of the curve by acting on sustainability now or pay the ultimate price for being left behind in the sustainability ball-game.
The Customer. Whether we work B2B or B2C, our customers are an integral part of “the public” and we are, or will be, subject to their ‘sustainability’ expectations.
Of the clients we meet, few are immune to customer demands for evidence of sustainability. As of now, conversations tend to be gentle but patience soon wears thin.
Investors. Institutional investors are already on the move, protecting themselves from a sustainability backlash.
A response to their re-positioning is a growing pressure on investee businesses to ‘be sustainable’ and investors demand it while private investors are increasingly projecting the same agenda.
Key Partners. Large customers & key suppliers can do no more than turn up the pressure on businesses they work with to meet the ‘sustainability challenge’ with growing urgency.
We increasingly see sustainability written into supplier contracts and tenders. If you want access to larger customers, be sustainable-savvy or keep out of this market sector.
The Media. 2018 saw brutal exposes on; plastics & the wider petrochemical industry, supermarket packaging, car manufacture & vehicle emissions, the fashion industry (H&M in particular), fertilizers (Monsanto and their resellers), public transport (Uber); the list is endless and 2019 will be no less newsworthy (& for some, commercially contaminating).
Remember the elephant in the room & two key facts; 1) Bad news not only sells newspapers but destroys careers & damages companies & 2) When running a business we are obligated to manage risk. This particular risk is best avoided & sustainability helps you do just that.
The Environment. With few dissenting voices, climate change and environmental damage is an issue for us all. And it is an uncomfortable truth that there is no fence to sit on in this debate; we and our businesses are either part of the problem or part of the cure, and will be judged accordingly.
Go on, be the good guy, be the first-changer, lead the company that cares and in the process reap the sustainability dividend that follows those businesses already on their own sustainability journeys.