A man holds a feedback survey.

A man holds a feedback survey.

Photo credit: Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay

Sustainability Can Save Your Brand Reputation

This is Part II in our series exploring how sustainable practices will help your business survive (and thrive) tomorrow and into the future. Read Part I Here.

Sustainability, It Looks Good On You

Many of the arguments around adopting sustainable practices have, in the past, tied climate change to distant consequences. Most of us don’t have melting glaciers in our backyards. More of us have dying coral reefs but, again, a majority of us don’t. It’s hard to create empathy with far off repercussions.

Yet, in reality, the consequences are not distant. Changing weather and more extreme weather events have become apparent everywhere. This has changed the way nations argue about sustainability, and it has changed the way the public sees climate change.

This is why aligning your brand with sustainable practices now is the right path. It’s just good business sense.

Modern Expectations for Modern Brands

According to Horizon Media’s Finger on the Pulse study, 81% of Millenials expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship. Millennials are also more likely to be aware of whether or not a brand aligns itself with sustainable goals, since 72% research their purchases online before they buy.

These are important statistics to take note of. Millennials make up about 25% of the US population alone, and they have an estimated one trillion dollars in discretionary buying power at their disposal. And, perhaps most notably, 50% say they are more likely to make a purchase if the brand supports a cause.

In short, brands that care about more than their bottom line are more likely to receive purchases from Millenials.

This is all to say that it’s a good look, as well as good for the world, to be upfront and thoughtful about your environmental, social, and economic impacts. However, a consumer-facing perspective isn’t the only business reason to tout a sustainable message.

The Wish To Work For Good

Warby Parker has given away 5 million pairs of glasses to people in need through their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. The information on the program, however, is hidden away on one page of their website -- rather than front and center -- because they found that style and fit were most important to their consumers. However, “for our 1,800 current employees and for people that we're recruiting, we lead with the social mission. That's the No. 1 reason people want to come work for Warby Parker.”

88% of business school students think that learning about environmental and social impacts are a priority and 67% want to incorporate environmental sustainability into their work after school. The message is coming from investors too. As the Stanford Social Innovation Review notes, impact investors, people who consider environmental, social, and governance factors in their investment criteria, handled $8.72 trillion of professionally managed assets in the United States in 2016. That equates to one-fifth of all investment under professional management.

Consumers, employees, and investors all want to see more sustainable businesses. Why not be one of them?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to integrating sustainability into your mission and business. Everyone will come from a different direction and have a different answer. Which, incidentally, is one of the reasons Boma’s work is so important. It’s a place to share solutions that work for you.

Keep up with Boma to see the next parts of this series, where we will discuss:

  • Efficiency as a cost-saver
  • Staying ahead of regulations
  • Encouraging innovation
  • How to be sustainable

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