Revising your sustainability strategy can still uncover competitive advantages
Gyles Marshall of digital agency Rawnet argues that, although sustainability is by now an entrenched part of the business ecosystem, there are still competitive advantages to be claimed by leading the way.
It’s not too late to claim an advantage from sustainability creds, says Rawnet / Steven Lelham via Unsplash
Today, sustainability is beginning to transform the competitive landscape, leading brands to change the way they think about their business models, products and technologies in order to shift toward a more sustainable mindset.
While businesses understand the importance of sustainability, the biggest challenge relates to its implementation. Only 60% of organizations already have strategies in place. This can no longer be ignored. It’s time for brands to take their efforts to the next level and leverage the competitive advantages that sustainable strategies can bring, in terms of both bottom-line returns and long-term business success.
Building sustainable innovations
Innovation is vital to company growth and survival, especially during times of economic uncertainty. By bringing sustainability to the forefront of innovation, brands can create products, services and processes that are mutually beneficial for the company and wider society.
Organizations that have shifted their priorities are also able to better understand how technology can help them reduce their impact on the environment, without compromising on the quality or flexibility of their offerings.
Data and technology can have a transformational impact across entire businesses, balancing all elements of ESG, productivity and efficiency to deliver a competitive advantage. These insights ensure that marketers can respond to challenges in real-time, make better and faster decisions and reallocate resources in line with sustainability innovations. With this forward-thinking approach, brands can make sure that sustainability is at the heart of their strategy, with products or services geared towards long-term relevance.
Boosting the bottom line
With budgets coming under strain, businesses are looking for new ways to generate savings. In most cases, inefficient technologies have a staggering impact on the environment. Switching to newer and more sustainable solutions can provide both environmental and cost savings. There’s a window of opportunity to bolster sustainability efforts, save costs and address tightened profit margins.
This process generates additional revenues from better products and enables companies to create sales possibilities by tapping into the pool of customers who are prioritizing sustainability. This opens up opportunities to target consumers who are willing to pay a higher price for sustainable products and services, with IBM reporting that 49% of customers have paid a premium for products branded as sustainable or socially responsible in the last 12 months.
Attracting the right talent
Being perceived as a sustainable business is becoming increasingly important when attracting talent, too. As companies revamp their business models in line with environmental trends, potential recruits are responding positively to these changes and the impact they will have on the workplace. In a recent Deloitte survey, 49% of Gen Z and 44% of millennials said that they had made career choices based on ethics. Some job seekers are even willing to take a pay cut if the company is environmentally responsible.
Sustainability-focused companies will also find it much easier to retain employees – especially if they can create an environmentally led culture in line with ESG credentials and offer eco-driven initiatives for workers to get involved in. Not focusing on sustainability can lead to losing out to competitors who are.
Driving a sustainable future
Companies need to begin treating sustainability as the next frontier of innovation, bringing new and eco-friendly products or services to the forefront. This will help meet customers’ increasing demands for sustainability and bring substantial efficiencies to improve the organization’s bottom line.
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Rawnet is a digital agency that defines, designs, delivers and drives strategic products and services that create a long-term positive impact.Find out more