Why companies should invest in business sustainability programs

By @chelean on
Wind turbines
Wind turbines are pictured in this multiple exposure at the German village of Feldheim February 21, 2013. Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

Many companies’ business sustainability effort is the classic case of “too little, too late,” especially when it comes to social and environmental issues. All you need to do is look around and realise that the polar ice caps are still melting, there are still stories of female discrimination in the corporate ladder, and there are still animals in danger of extinction.

But should companies just stop from exerting all these efforts? Of course not. In fact, now is the best time as any for companies, whether established or start-ups, to start thinking about what other good they can do for business, people, and the planet. Here’s why:

We’re making dents

Among the issues we face today, addressing the environment tops immediacy. For years, we’ve neglected too much of the environment, allowing big corporations like Nestle and Coca-Cola to get away with practically causing most of our natural problems. The famous soda brand, for example, has contributed to more than 100 billion plastic waste in 2016 alone, according to Greenpeace, while Nestle has been known to partner with firms that trim down rainforests just to provide the food and drink company’s raw materials.

Though these issues have been addressed, we still have a long and difficult path ahead before we can finally say that manufacturing companies have learned their lessons, and we now have a second chance. Companies like Google are investing heavily in making sure their operations do not harm the environment.

The tech company is the largest supporter of renewable energy as evidenced by its US$3 million (AU$4.19 million) worth of investments in renewable energy projects. Early this year, Google Senior VP for Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle shared that the company is on track in transforming business operations to run on 100 percent renewable energy.

Additionally, Google has signed for three gigawatts worth of renewable energy contracts globally.

And it’s not just Google. Amazon, IKEA and even toy brand Lego are now incorporating renewable energy for their operations.

Attracting investors, millennials

Believe it or not, it’s time to think about self-made millennials as the next investors and know that addressing social issues is actually a big consideration for most of their investment decisions. Reports say that millennials are actually quite willing to shell out more money for sustainable brands and are more willing to support companies with a good sense of social citizenship.

In addition, millennials are even more likely to buy products that are environment-friendly and have a good social impact.

Stakeholders are happy

And of course, a sound business sustainability plant is bound to make all stakeholders happy — customers and investors. And in the case of Exponential, Inc. (XPO²), a cause-related technology marketing startup founded by French-American entrepreneur Dom Einhorn, the small and medium-sized charities and foundations it supports are happy.

XPO² ’s sustainability master plan lets companies (via its participating merchants) address various social issues like world hunger, health issues, and even animal welfare by supporting charities and foundations that XPO² has partnered and personally vetted.

Through XPO²’s crowdfunding and impact investing platform, partner foundations get to be innovative on how to get regular funding while focusing on carrying out their main mission of addressing social issues.

Unlike other crowdfunding platforms that just take a cut without offering any assistance to causes, XPO² offers nonprofits with a complete marketing suite, so they can champion and promote their vision to participating merchants. People can then choose to give via direct contributions or via the game-changing “cashless contribution.”

This works by using a special browser extension that tracks the transactions of consumers in XPO2’s participating merchants. Following the installation of the extension, people can choose which charity to support, and after purchasing items from these merchants, a portion of the sales will be sent to the charity of choice.

To recap, these are only some of the advantages of committing to a business sustainability platform that works. In the long run, we will all benefit from companies that are environment-conscious, sensitive to social issues and innovative enough to help change the world.

The article is based on press release sent for consideration. This does not serve as endorsement of any product.