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12 Sustainability Trends That Will Change 2021 - And Beyond
Find inspiration to change your business or start your ethical empire.
Why is sustainability in business important?
According to the IMD 62% of executives consider a sustainability strategy necessary to be competitive now. Another 22% think it will be in the future.
Being truly sustainable, not just greenwashing or pretending to be, is the key to a modern, attractive business, whether a start up or multi-natiional.
Consumers and clients are looking for business partners and brands who put the people in their supply chain and the planet's needs alongside profit and help restore the damage done by the 'growth at all costs' approach of the last century.
Businesses have a key role to play in creating a more sustainable future, and by weaving sustainable practices through every level of your business you're investing in that future.
From reducing your waste and carbon emissions to increasing diversity, there are many different ways for businesses to be more sustainable.
Sustainable businesses aren't just better for the planet, they're proving to have better bottom lines too:
- Sustainable businesses are growing faster than those that aren't eco-friendly.
- They have higher customer loyalty and more goodwill amongst consumers.
- Businesses with a high Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) rating have been proven to have lower debt costs.
- Sustainable practices and intiatives result in stronger sales, and financial performance.
Unsustainable businesses will be left behind by their peers.
In 2019 an HSBC survey reported that more than 50% of UK businesses were looking to invest in making themselves more sustainable - 69% on making manufacturing more sustainable, 66% on improving internal practices and 63% on updating buildings and equipment.
Sustainable business examples
Some quick sustainable business examples are:
- LUSH have created a wide range of zero waste toiletries to cut out plastic packaging.
- Toast Ale are a social enterprise beer brand who pour all their profits into a food waste charity.
- IKEA has embraced sustainability throughout its design and manufacture, creating products that can be recycled or remade, moving factories to closer to their stores and cutting down on product waste.
- Aerende is a homewares brand that commissions and showcases products made by disadvantged people.
- Haeckels is a skincare brand made from seaweed from its local beach in Margate and has developed biodegradable packaging from mushrooms.
- Patagonia lead the way in ethical fashion, offering to repair their clothes for free, reselling returned or repaired stock and developing eco-friendly, high performance materials. They also support causes far beyond fashion.
- Tony's Chocoloney have built their own cocoa supply chain to try to eradicate child slavery in the making of chocolate.
pebble is full of examples of how to make your business more sustainable and stories from those founders and eco-entrpreneurs who are leading the way make their brands and social enterprises as green as possible.
Scroll down for plenty of inspiration.
Sustainable business practices
There are endless ways to make your business more sustainable and introduce practices that are eco-friendly and profitable. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Do a carbon audit to find your level of carbon emissions. Develop a roadmap to reduce them in key areas and measure your success.
- Apply to become a B Corp business which officially protect people and planet as well as profit.
- Reduce single use plastic use in your supply chain.
- Sign up to 1% For The Planet to donate 1% of revenue to environmental or humanitarian causes.
- Partner with a charity that helps issues close to your heart or your industry.
- Embrace circular design and create products that can be recycled or repaired.
- Ensure everyone is being paid the Living Wage.
- Move to a circular economic model and create products from waste materials.
- Run on renewable energy or green website hosting.
- Purchase only eco-friendly products and services.
- Engage your employees to strive to become more eco-friendly at every level of the business.
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