The protracted coronavirus crisis is a curse for many and a blessing for others. Companies that conduct their business in a sustainable, ecological and responsible manner appear to be far less impacted by the crisis. But why is that exactly? And what are the benefits of sustainable entrepreneurship?
Last month, the European Parliament ruled that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 60% by 2030. Belgium must be fully climate neutral by 2050. There is therefore no time to lose. Businesses, however, need not wait on governmental decisions. By proactively getting started with sustainability, your company can reap the benefits of your sustainable policy today. That is not only beneficial for our society and the planet, but also your business.
You have likely heard the term SDGs, or Sustainable Development Goals, in recent months. These Sustainable Development Goals were devised by the UN in 2015, and focus on the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability. However, sustainable development requires careful assessment by all stakeholders. Those companies that actively incorporate SDGs into their business strategy appear to be more resilient in crisis situations. And this is paying off in the current corona emergency.
Performing an in-depth analysis of your company’s energy consumption could potentially enable you to reduce your emissions by 60%. You will immediately save a considerable amount on your energy bill as a consequence. A sustainable personnel policy additionally ensures a significant reduction in absenteeism. This translates into substantial savings on salary costs and a highly motivated team of employees.
Sustainable companies enjoy a better reputation and make more attractive partners for governments and investors than those that do not invest in sustainability. Thus the government is increasingly emphasising the sustainable aspect in their search for partners.
Consumers are also showing an increasing interest in environmentally-friendly products. In 2019, product sustainability was an important factor for some 53% of consumers. 38% were even willing to pay more for sustainable goods.
Finally, when it comes to the labour market, the majority of millennials wish to work exclusively for companies that are willing to address the key issues of mental health, diversity and digitisation.
Those who invest in sustainability are better prepared for the future. Research shows that 66% of companies that are engaged in the circular economy experience little impact from the corona crisis. This is in stark contrast to mainstream businesses, where only 2% experience such a small amount of inconvenience. Sustainable entrepreneurship additionally ensures that your investments are spread over several years, ensuring consistent compliance with future legislation.
Of course sustainable entrepreneurship is not without its challenges. The returns on your investments will take longer to manifest. We therefore recommend starting with minor changes that will enable you to develop your company’s sustainability policy gradually.
Environmentally-friendly companies are also more closely scrutinised. The media and your competitors will focus on what you do and do not do. It is therefore essential that you communicate transparently and clearly highlight your achievements at all times. But be careful to practice what you preach and do not pretend to be greener or more sustainable than you really are. External parties will quickly see through this.
Those who sow the seeds of hard work today, will reap the fruits of the future. Companies that strike a balance between profitability and responsibility, and robustness and flexibility, will be much better placed to cope with future crisis situations. To strike that balance, however, it is essential to integrate technological and human vision into your corporate policy. The current corona crisis provides an exceptional opportunity to make bold decisions and devise pivotal sustainable policies.
In our opinions, we rely on current legislation, interpretations and legal doctrine. This does not prevent the administration from disputing them or from changing existing interpretations.
Read our latest insights and news releases to stay abreast of changes in your industry.