Can sustainable development really help you improve your business practices? Too expensive or too complicated, there are still far too many misconceptions about this and some companies are still reluctant to join the movement.
Still, current trends speak for themselves: local buying, the zero-waste lifestyle, electric cars, the circular economy and many others are helping make room for a more sustainable economy.
Beyond these trends, there is a real movement underway that could be beneficial for countless businesses.
Sustainable development brings together three pillars: the ecological, social and economic aspects.
The Brundtland Report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as a “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Therefore, in the business world, companies must act accordingly and take into account the various social and environmental issues in their daily practices.
However, one question remains: can the combination of ecology-economy-social really be beneficial for businesses?
The transition to sustainable practices involves an initial investment that can roll back some businesses. However, the return comes at many levels, as much in terms of financial performance as in the quality of the staff acquired and the work done.
On one hand, the government offers a multitude of programs to help companies making efforts to be greener. On the other hand, since investors show more and more interest in sustainable businesses, making the change could help increase the chances of getting financial support.
In fact, a research by the G&A Institute shows that companies publishing sustainable development reports show better economic performances than companies that do not.
By clearly positioning itself as a company with sustainable practices, a business immediately differentiates itself from others. Transparency, social and environmental values are important aspects that can make a significant impact on a business relationship with its consumers and clients.
Of course, to integrate sustainable approaches to a company, it’s not necessary to acquire all existing certifications on the market. However, having at least one can be a competitive advantage.
Among the benefits, one can note an increase in the credibility of a company as it's already taking concrete steps to make a real difference in the industry.
Increasing the visibility of a business and the networking opportunities are also good reasons to opt for certifications. In addition to being more easily identified by customers and consumers who think like you, it's a great way to connect with a community that works to make a positive impact on society.
“In 2018, when it comes to recruiting 18-34 year-olds, the values and social mission of a company means a lot.” - Vincent Fortin, president and producer at Republik.
When advertising as a company with lasting social values, it can make all the difference when recruiting people. It attracts people who not only advocate similar values, but who will be much more motivated and effective at work.
Now that you're informed, it's time to define what aspects of sustainability you want to integrate into your business strategy. Once your guideline is in place, you will be able to see what you can achieve within your budget and plan concrete actions at the social or environmental level.