Environmental responsibility and sustainability impact not only the survival, but also the growth of the firm. In fact, sustainability-focused firms have better financial results compared to peers. Embracing sustainability uncovers opportunities beyond efficiency and compliance. Firms that embrace green initiatives win shareholder trust and gain competitive advantage.
Why sustainability is crucial for business success
A Forrester Research survey indicated that sustainability was the top priority for businesses. 80% of the respondents surveyed said that implementing sustainability was a key goal for them. For 70% of the respondents, attracting customers who make purchasing decisions based on sustainable corporate values was a key in introducing sustainable initiatives.
Nearly half of the respondents (48%) said their firm has a long-term goal of reducing energy consumption across its portfolio of buildings by at least 50%. The research also stated that the return on investment of sustainability extends far beyond goodwill. Sustainably engaged companies witness benefits from improved efficiencies (96%), improved compliance (95%), improved employee recruitment and/or retention (90%), and reduced waste (90%).
Also, a lot of them see benefits from improved brand reputation (89%), decreased costs (89%), improved customer acquisition and/or loyalty (86%), and revenue growth (83%).
Firms are realizing the competitive advantage that sustainability can deliver and they are looking to set themselves apart by committing to decarbonization. Johnson Controls is a leading example of combining tech with insights to build purposeful solutions that help the world progress, meeting today’s needs and shaping better tomorrows. A well-orchestrated sustainable transformation drives competitive advantage and benefits all stakeholders.
With COP28 being hosted in UAE this year, a strong sustainable portfolio can also contribute to UAE’s NetZero goals. For mid-market firms keen to embrace more sustainable practices, the challenge lies in understanding what actions to prioritize, and how to incorporate the likes of carbon reduction, diversity, and social responsibility most effectively into business models.
What to note while driving sustainability
Here are some key notes to keep in mind while driving through their sustainability journey:
- Embrace social responsibility that is aligned with your business model to strengthen your operations and make a remarkable social impact.
- Create a dedicated sustainability function in the organization and appoint a taskforce with the right expertise to lead it, which is also responsible for creating a culture around sustainability across the organization
- Increase transparency of the corporate sustainability initiatives and make it a practical and actionable item for all the workforce in your organization.
- Have Sustainability as a performance evaluation KPI for the organization’s leadership team.
- Work with like-minded organizations or utility partners to improve the use of clean energy. Audit current partners to ensure they meet sustainability practices.
- Measure and monitor the carbon footprint of your products and operations. It is important to quantify your decarbonization initiatives along with your financial analysis.
- Improve energy efficiencies in your buildings and workspaces. Engage the workforce to volunteer around key impact areas.
- Invest in impactful, innovative technology and partners that enhance your sustainability initiatives.
The Forrester study also suggests that sustainably engaged firms pull ahead in their adoption of intelligent, high-impact solutions. For example, 54% of sustainably engaged firms are using engineering innovation to improve the sustainability of their materials, 47% are investing in circular economy and asset upcycling, and 48% are using AI-driven energy optimization.
These types of solutions are not only impactful to the environment, but they also often fuel cultures of innovation. Connecting sustainability to a core purpose will not only help you turn your business into a competitive advantage, but also help you reimagine it. Hence, assess opportunities and cascade sustainability throughout the organization. Most importantly, identify metrics and methods to assess the impact of your firm’s sustainability initiatives.
Factors to measure include reducing operating costs by efficiently using energy, power, lighting, and water resources, and enabling sustainable operations. Focus on increasing the use of certified and trusted sustainable partners that meet requirements for using sustainable raw materials and resources. Lastly, establish your roadmap to march towards sustainability!
Rohan Chopra is the Head of Sustainability, Services, and Solutions at Johnson Control. Johnson Controls transforms the environments where people live, work, learn and play. As the global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, their mission is to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places and the planet.