Big Ideas

A Sustainable Business is a Better Business

Better Business & Sustainability

01 June 2018

What do we mean by better business? Better businesses have a long term view and are built to last, they aim to make a profit as well as do their bit to improve environmental conditions and make a positive impact on society. In other words, they are sustainable. 

 

What are the benefits of making yours a sustainable business?

 

  • You’ll feel good about it and it brings a sense of purpose. When embedded into strategy and played out in the every-day, sustainable values can demonstrate a purpose led business and encourage the culture that allows your business to thrive. 

 

  • Sustainable business practices can help you attract customers. According to Colmar Brunton’s Better Futures Report (2017), 69% of Kiwis and 75% of female Kiwis are willing to pay a bit more for sustainable and ethically produced products. 

 

  • Attracting & retaining employees. The Better Futures Report found that 73% of respondents said that it is important for them to work for a company that is socially and environmentally responsible.    

 

  • A sustainable business model is often more efficient and more profitable. Examples are: cost savings through reducing waste or resource consumption, identification of new revenue streams or products, and improved relationships with suppliers and other stakeholders. 

 

Six tips to make your business more sustainable:

1. Strong leadership. Success depends on gaining support from your team, if you have their buy in then achieving your sustainability goals will be much more likely. Having said that, any employee could encourage better practices – it’s making the business case and convincing others that’ll make it happen.

2. Identify areas of opportunity. Map out your value chain and identify the areas where your business has the biggest impacts. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are a useful reference point.
 
3. Understand and evaluate the importance of your identified opportunities. It is likely that value is created in your business through relationships with key stakeholders, so analyse from both an internal and external perspective and from a financial, strategic, operational, land legal point of view. 
 
4. Ensure that the actions and business interventions that you make are aligned to your business plan and strategy
 
5. Agree and set your goals, measure your baseline or status quo and then report on progress. 

6. Involve your team in the process and ensure that you support it with well designed and clear communication.

 

Resources  

The Sustainable Business Network (SBN) is the NZ organisation aimed fostering sustainable business in New Zealand and have a specific focus on privately owned or small and medium sized businesses (SME / SMB). Make sure you check out their website for some useful resources and guides.

 At Engeneo we get a real kick out of helping businesses be successful whilst also improving their impact on the environment and community. If you are interested in building these values into your business plan, please get in touch - we’d love to hear from you. 

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