- Amy Broomhead
- 6th August 2020
Sustainability is the ability of an action being able to meet the needs of the present without compromising that of the future. In academic writing business sustainability is often segmented into three pillars, social, environmental, and financial. By focussing on sustainability, it encourages businesses to think further than the next financial year and to consider the longevity of the business and the impact it will have on the people and planet it effects.
In this blog we will be discussing the social and environmental. Social being the impact that a business’s actions have upon its own workers and the workers within its supply chain. Environmental being the impact that a business’ supply chain has on the environment in which it operates. We are going to explore the reasons why it is beneficial to businesses to take that step towards thinking seriously about its social and environmental sustainability.
By making the step towards a more socially and environmentally sustainable business model you could increase your product or service demand. According to a survey carried out by the One Earth Show 95% of consumers surveyed want to be more sustainable, this would include shopping at and giving their business to more sustainable companies. Their survey also showed that 66% are prepared to pay a premium price for a sustainable product. So, you will not need to be out of pocket putting in these measures as consumers are happy to help cover the cost if it means the product or service will be sustainable. In this way the social and environmental pillars contribute to the final economic pillar of the sustainability trifecta.
Public Relations is a biggie. Obviously if you practice good ethics and conduct your business in a sustainable way you can market and advertise that which will benefit your business greatly, as mentioned above it is the way the market is moving. Your customers will be proud to be your customers and will share the fact that they buy from such an “eco” or “ethical” company and will share your business with their friends or on social media.
However, bad press travels fast, and if you are exposed to be practising in a way less than what is expected, then prepare to feel the wrath of the people and the repercussions that come with that.
In July 2020 Boohoo was exposed for using a supplier factory in Leicester to produce their clothes that paid its workers an hourly wage as low as £3.50 (actual minimum wage ranges from £4.15 to £8.72 depending on age). A day later Boohoo shares fell by 11% and #boycottboohoo was trending on twitter.
But this is not limited to big businesses it takes only 1200 tweets on a topic to trend on twitter so even a small amount of exposure could have a large impact and can very negatively impact your brand image.
Of course, on top of business benefits the main reason you should aim to be a more socially and environmentally sustainable is because it is the right thing to do! Caring for the planet and the people on it is the biggest reward you can gain from making these changes to your business.
It should be integral to your business plan that the impact your business has on the environment is minimal or should be counteracted with proactive movements to help rebuild. Socially, it should be the bare minimum that all workers up and down your supply chain are paid a living wage and are not in a position of exploitation. They should feel valued and proud to be a part of the process.Tweet