Sustainability refers to a company’s ability to maintain and strive for a positive effect on the environment and contribute to society at large. Forward-thinking companies that are embracing this change can bolster industries and are taking the lead with a competitive edge by experiencing rapid growth. While this opportunity seems like an obvious one, how to drive sustainability transformation are not quite as simple. So here are five things your business can do to stand out from the crowd when it comes to sustainability.
1. Build a sustainability strategy linked to a core purpose
This begins with taking a step back and understanding how your business impacts the environment, social sectors and governance. Once this is understood, companies need to select an area that feels like a natural fit and then focus on the area that matters most to shareholders. Businesses must prioritise which space they want to work on to ensure they don’t create siloed initiatives that don't actually create meaningful impact.
2. Ensure you capture real value
When selecting areas to build sustainable transformation, it’s important to ensure you are creating real value. The best place to start is by having a strong business case that reflects all the areas of value that the sustainability efforts will grow. This could take many forms like share expansion, or penetrating new markets for example. Once proven theoretically with these existing business cases, the company can then decide which areas to develop through sales, marketing, finance and product development (etc), to ensure that there are practical applications in place which not only create value but also accurately track development.
3. Create a sustainable business model
To transform their ecosystems and value chains, companies need to embrace innovation. This can be done in smart and strategic ways with circular business models and investment ventures that address the scarcity of resources, recycling projects and building infrastructure.
4. Ensure the core is sustainable
To make an impact in this space it is important that the operation itself is sustainable. This can be addressed in the supply chain which needs to be transparent across the board, including all aspects of sourcing and distribution. This area requires new tools and technology like AI which will monitor and predict processes and improve performance.
5. Engage investors and own the narrative
As businesses create and then share their narrative with their stakeholders, they need to make a proactive effort to sell the dream. This needs to become an open and ongoing dialogue that extends to all customers, employees and community members who will ultimately benefit or be affected. The buy-in of these parties is what will ultimately drive value.
The bottom line
A successful sustainability transformation requires an important shift in mindset. Entrepreneurs need to push toward sustainability for many reasons besides a compliance activity. Rather the emphasis should be on creating value and giving back. When done with the right intentions and with strong foundations in place, companies can build real value and this will prove to be a huge driver of growth in the years to come.
To fund your sustainability transformation strategy in the next 48 hours, contact Merchant Capital today.