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Unique Selling Proposition: 5 Reasons to Invest in Sustainability
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Blog...Unique Selling Proposition: 5 Reasons to Invest in Sustainability

Unique Selling Proposition: 5 Reasons to Invest in Sustainability

Green News
Global Warming
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Sustainability is becoming more common, and clearly is beneficial for the environment – but what about for business? What makes sustainability a unique selling proposition?
Green News
2024-05-10T00:00:00.000Z
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phone with recyccling symboal against minimalistc mataha mug, notebook, and fruits in glass tubberware

Sustainability is becoming more and more common, with people starting to avoid fast fashion stores, bringing reusable shopping bags with them to the grocery store to avoid the use of plastic, and even aiming to sustainably wrap their holiday gifts.

But it isn’t just the average person you see on the street getting into sustainability, anymore – businesses are becoming more interested in the potential benefits of sustainability as well. 

👉 Why is sustainability one of the most important investments to make today?

Read more to find out our top five reasons why we think sustainability is a key investment in today’s world. 

What is sustainability? 

Sustainability is a term used so often these days, it’s likely that many people don’t understand the full definition of sustainability.

In short, sustainability is when a person or organization makes use of resources that will not impact the future durability of the environment or lives of future generations.

Therefore, sustainability often also refers to the efforts taken to support the maintenance and durability of something – otherwise known as “sustaining” something, hence the term – sustainability.

For example, businesses and people will seek to avoid the use of finite resources in order to protect the environment – such as by opting for a reusable water bottle or biking to work instead of driving their car that emits greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. 

Sustainability can be referred to in three different pillars: economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, and social sustainability. All three pillars of sustainability are equally important for any entity seeking to establish sustainable practices into their business models or daily lives. 

However, sustainability isn’t just about appearances. In fact, many companies try to persuade their customers that they are more sustainable than they actually are through a common marketing strategy called greenwashing, where companies claim to be more environmentally friendly than they actually are – often lacking the numerical progress necessary to demonstrate their sustainable accomplishments. 

Sustainability is certainly growing in popularity, but why?

Why is sustainability important?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global surface temperatures are rising as a result of human activity that makes use of excessive carbon emissions: such as air travel, the use of plastic, or even seemingly harmless self-care tactics like going to a luxury gym.

This is precisely why sustainability has never been more important, because the future of the planet lies in the hands of humanity – meaning it is up to each and everyone one of us to make small adjustments every day to help the planet remain livable for future generations.   

Sustainability as a whole is imperative for our overall quality of life, meaning – sustainability isn’t just important in terms of the current global predicament of climate change.

Economic sustainability is vital to ensure everyone has the resources they need in pursuit of a happy and healthy life, and social sustainability guarantees equal working rights and career opportunities.

Overall, sustainability helps to create balance between what is necessary and what we can live without. 
countryside

What are some examples of sustainability? 

Sustainability can be expressed in several different ways, but the most common concept that comes to mind when people think of sustainability is more often than not environmentally sustainability. This refers to mitigating or the use or consumption of products that create excessive carbon emissions, waste, or deplete through finite, natural resources, like freshwater.

For instance, every time someone decides to bring a reusable grocery bag with them to the supermarket – they are setting an example for environmental sustainability by avoiding the use of plastic, which is known to flood oceans and emit greenhouse gasses. 

However, sustainability can be demonstrated in more than just small actions taken to help fight against climate change. For example, a popular cosmetic company called The Body Shop launched a program back in 2019 that allows customers to bring their old, empty containers and refill them. This way, customers feel good knowing that they aren’t contributing to landfill – while also creating economic sustainability for The Body Shop, by preventing the need for them to pay for the manufacturing of new cosmetic bottles. 

Starbucks has implemented a similar tactic in recent years, where if customers bring their own reusable cup – they get a ten cent discount. It may not seem like a lot, but if someone gets a $5 cup of Starbucks every day for a year – that adds up to an annual savings of $36.40, or more than a month of “free” coffees from Starbucks. This marketing strategy by Starbucks creates both environmental and economic sustainability on both the consumer and business side – as it creates an incentive for their customers to mitigate the use of plastic cups and straws, and reduces the business costs needed to pay for the manufacturing of new, single use cups.

Other examples of sustainability, that don’t allude to the small actions you’re probably used to hearing, include different types of financial investments that aim to improve both the environment and society – such as green financing, socially responsible investing, and impact investing. 

Sustainability is clearly beneficial for the planet, but why would it serve as a good business move?

wooden forks and knives

Why is sustainability a good investment for your business? 

Investing in sustainability isn’t just about receiving a better financial return, but can present a wide-array of business opportunities and benefits.

This is due to the fact that more people are becoming interested in sustainability, making this unique selling proposition beneficial in a variety of ways. 

Here are our top five reasons why companies should seek to invest in sustainability.

Business Longevity 

Some industries are threatened by climate change entirely, such as the perfume industry – due to the fact that abnormal weather conditions like prolonged droughts and heat waves prevent a successful harvest season for the flowers used to make beloved scents for sale. 

Many sectors have already started to shift their business model to coincide with sustainability, such as drug and grocery stores charging customers with a five or ten cent plastic bag fee or offices that have opted for solar panels to make use of renewable energy.

If a company can demonstrate that they can do more than just survive, but thrive with the use of resources and activities that don’t put the environment in harm's way – longevity is almost guaranteed. 

New Customer Interest & Loyalty 

The demand to purchase sustainable products is growing, with roughly two thirds, or 66%, or American adults stating in a recent survey from the Business of Sustainability Index that they would they would be willing to pay a higher price for sustainable products.

This is precisely why so many industries like the fashion industry and the cosmetic industry have started to alter their business models in order to reflect the values of new customers and simultaneously retain their loyal consumers.

As sustainability becomes a new norm, it would serve as a viable investment in order to keep your current customers – as well as attract new ones with your sustainable products and services, some of which future customers may not find if your company doesn’t make the transition to become more sustainable.

Better Chance at Acquiring New Investors

If you have read our other articles on green financing and impact investing, then you’re probably more than aware of the importance of investing in sustainability in order to acquire the interest of future investors.

This is because investors prefer to put their money towards a business that has a shot at succeeding in a world where climate change threatens the use of multiple finite resources, and companies that can demonstrate their willingness to adapt to the situation are likely to succeed in other business endeavors. 

Stay One Step Ahead of the Law

Sustainability isn’t just some new fashion trend, but something more and more governments around the world are seeking to implement into legislation – such as with California banning the use of gasoline powered vehicles from 2035 onwards, the Biden administration encouraging families and businesses to opt for carbon-saving technologies like a carbon capture and storage system or implementing sustainable infrastructure, or one of the many new efforts delineated by the U.K. government to protect the environment and reduce emissions. 

Many businesses end up panicking while trying to catch up with the many new environmental laws being implemented; with new carbon-friendly legislative matters being passed more frequently these days.

If a company recognizes the unique selling proposition of investing in sustainability – thousands of dollars of what may seem like upfront costs in the moment, could help a business to stay one step ahead and avoid potential environmental requirements in future regulations. 

Encourage Employees to Stay 

You can’t have a business without employees to help run it. While it is imperative to implement sustainability in order to appeal to investors to help with the external costs of the business, it is just as vital to demonstrate these ethical values to employees.

As Millennials and Gen Z continue to take the workforce by storm, many of whom are well-aware of the global predicament of climate change as it concerns their futures more so than previous generations –  it is crucial to illustrate and understanding of the effects of climate change, especially for these younger generations entering the workforce, as many will be reluctant to work for a business that denies the importance of sustainability.

Incorporating sustainability into a company’s business model could also result in more engaging and efficient employee performance, as employees will feel more comfortable knowing that their company is doing everything they can to build them a better future.

How can you become more sustainable?

Sustainability doesn’t have to be atrociously expensive. There are many things that both businesses and individual people can do to become more sustainable. 

Here are just a few, easy ideas.

Avoid Plastic

It’s getting easier to cut out the use of plastic these days: with reusable programs like the ones from Starbucks and The Body Shop which allow customers to reuse their original containers, canvas bags available everywhere, and even reusable ziploc and produce bags becoming more common. 

Get Certified

Due to greenwashing, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to determine which companies are serious about sustainability. Luckily, there’s a way for businesses to prove their loyalty to a brighter future for the environment – and that’s to strive for one of the many ISO certifications or PAS standards. These globally recognised certifications can help investors decipher which companies are truly working towards sustainability. 

Follow the Sustainable Development Goals 

The UNGC has made it easier than ever before to make sustainability a reality – with the release of their 30 Sustainable Development Goals, otherwise known as SDGs or Agenda 2030, companies can adhere to a wide range of sustainability standards to incorporate into their businesses. Some of the many goals companies can aspire to contribute to include fighting to end poverty, world hunger, encouraging the use of renewable energy, and caring for biodiversity. 

Invest in a Carbon Capture and Storage System

Carbon capture and storage systems work like a giant vacuum cleaner to trap excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, caused by industrial processes, and subsequently store it deep underground where it can’t cause the planet harm. While this is one of the more expensive sustainable tactics to implement – it can reap long-term benefits and help them to achieve net-zero emissions. 

Sustainability may still be seen as a unique selling proposition, but the truth is that sustainability should become the new norm if the world is dedicated to the fight against climate change.

a shopping bag

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article on our unique selling proposition and our top five reasons why investing in sustainability is important has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

Click here to learn more about Greenly and how we can help you reduce your carbon footprint. 

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