sustainable business benefits

Additional to the obvious benefits of sustainable business practice for our planet and our people (cleaner air, meaningful work to name just two), there are also quite a number of significant financial benefits for businesses:

  1. The so-called Stern Review established as early as 2009 that the cost of mitigating the fallout of global warming (extreme weather, floods, fires, earthquakes) far outweigh the cost of climate change action!
  2. Based on the study “From Stockholder to Stakeholder” of more than 200 academic studies, industry reports, newspaper articles and books, Oxford University (2014), found that:
  • 90% of the studies on the cost of capital show that sound sustainability standards lower the cost of capital of companies.
  • 80% of the studies show that stock price performance of companies is positively influenced by good sustainability practices.
  • 88% of the research shows that solid Environment/Social/Governance (ESG) practices result in better operational performance of firms.
  1. The latest Colmar-Brunton “Better Futures Report” for NZ found that 90 % of consumers stop buying from irresponsible or unethical companies. According to the report, a minimum of 40 % of New Zealanders are committed to a sustainable lifestyle. Plastic waste has been identified as the number 1 concern with 85 % of people wanting to reduce plastic waste. The same report found that 86 % of New Zealanders would want to work for socially and environmentally responsible company.

These studies show overwhelming evidence that adopting sustainable ways to operate your business is a sound business investment adding tangible value and saving cost. Plus, even if you don’t care about the planet – your customers and employees do!

Developing a customised Sustainability Strategy following ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems) or a Carbon-Zero Strategy following ISO 50001 (Energy Management Systems) is one of our core strengths here at Eco Growth. The strategy (essentially a roadmap) will eventually show the way to carbon zero business activities. Reducing carbon emissions or paying for increasingly expensive carbon credits will soon be a requirement for all business operations. Investing early in a Sustainability Strategy will save money from day 1 due to inherent energy savings and rising cost for energy consumption.

ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 are environmental management standards. They provide practical tools for organisations looking to identify and control their environmental impacts and improve environmental performance. ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 focus on environmental management systems. The other standards in the ISO 14000 family focus on specific environmental aspects such as life cycle analysis, communication and auditing.

Designed for any type of organization, regardless of its size, activity or sector, it can provide assurance to company management, employees, customers and external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved in an standardized and verifiable as well as certifiable way.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer of international standards and arguably the most recognised internationally.  This is why we recommend following ISO standards to a degree that is relevant and meaningful to your business.

This blog article (link) introduces other certifications for sustainability that might be suitable for your business. The article does not include industry-specific sustainability certification – we can discuss these once you get in touch.

 

The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

Many businesses have chosen to adopt one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals and feature the icons on their website (see icons below).

If you are looking into developing an Environmental Policy following ISO 140001 or an Energy Management Policy following ISO 50001, these international standards are already supporting sustainability goals #7 Affordable and Clean Energy, #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, #12 Responsible Consumption and Production, and #13 Combat Climate Change. If you are adopting the ISO 14001 and/or ISO 50001 standards for your own business, you are automatically supporting these sustainable goals as well. There is no framework or accreditation associated with supporting the 17 Global Goals. However, I have summarized the main certifications for sustainability that might be of interest for your business in this blog article (link).

Ever since I was introduced to Tim Jackson’s mind-blowingly smart criticism of exponential economic growth, I feel the need to qualify growth in my endeavours and my business name.

The first edition of Tim Jackson’s revolutionary assessment of the astounding flaws in our current economic thinking was first published in 2009. A substantially revised second edition (Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow) has been published in January 2017.  The book summarises the evidence showing that, beyond a certain level of comfort, further growth does not increase human wellbeing. Prosperity without Growth analyses the relationships between economic growth, climate change and social recession. It proposes a route to a sustainable economy without growth and argues for a redefinition of “prosperity” in light of the evidence on what really contributes to people’s wellbeing. As Jackson points out, what really truly matters hardly ever is of material nature once basic needs are met and survival is secure. In the wake of technological progress and the pursuit of ever-increasing profits, financial growth and its “skewed priorities” are linked to human exploitation and environmental destruction, which Jackson refers to as the “age of irresponsibility”. “The clearest message from the financial crisis of 2008 is that our current model of economic success is fundamentally flawed. For the advanced economies of the Western world, prosperity without growth is no longer a utopian dream. It is a financial and ecological necessity.” Jackson proposes a “Servicization” of the economy which would best support the circular economy (reuse-reproduce-recycle) that could not only save our planet but play a major role in supporting mental well-being and prosperity. Jackson explains how an emerging economic model could be the blueprint for the economy of tomorrow – an economy that provides plenty of purposeful work and treads lightly on the environment.

The book was described “one of the most outstanding pieces of environmental economics literature in recent years.” I certainly agree! The book is surprisingly easy to read, and even humorous in places. I would highly recommend it as inspiration for your own journey to sustainability!

Every New Zealand business will have to reduce carbon emissions to zero (0) by 2050 according to the Paris Agreement 2015. The Paris Agreement also dictates a legally binding interim target of 30 % emission reduction by 2030.

2030! That is today only 8.5 years away. If you haven’t made any plans about reducing your carbon footprint yet, you already wasted 6 precious years.

Climate Change: Off-setting is not the answer
Contrary to popular belief, it is impossible to achieve carbon zero by only off-setting your emissions through buying carbon credits within the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). There is not enough room on this planet to plant all the trees necessary so we could off-set all our carbon emissions today.
There is only one way: We need to reduce carbon emissions. We need to reduce carbon emissions. We need to reduce carbon emissions.

Start here
If you don’t know where to start, have a look at the Climate Change Toolbox from the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA). It lists the following areas with potential to reduce carbon emissions:
1. Moving people
2. Moving goods
3. Office operations
4. Site operations and equipment
5. Designing products

Generally, businesses start with an assessment of their current emissions which will form the base for future carbon reductions. There are quick wins like changing to LED lighting and investigating areas where energy is simply wasted (there are often many).

The good news: energy efficiency saves money!
Being energy efficient is associated with huge cost savings over time which makes this process essential for future-proofing your business.
The longer businesses wait to reduce their carbon emissions, the more cost-intensive the process will be as there is currently not enough expertise nor resources available to carry out the work that is needed to change to carbon zero. The capital cost of energy efficiency measures is predicted to increase as the demand rises towards 2030 and 2050 respectively.

Making the right decision today will ensure business continuity
The best decision you can make in this decade is to start your journey to carbon zero today: As a fully trained Carbon and Energy Professional, it would be my pleasure to prepare an Energy Reduction & Management Programme (compliant with ISO 50001) for your company. Alternatively, consider upskilling one of your staff in order to create energy and carbon reduction capability in your own business (depending on its size). It could be one of the wisest investment decisions you would ever make.
I’m here to help! Just ask. Look forward to hearing from you.
Cheers
Tina
021 350 936
[email protected]

The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) refers to the real cost of doing business which includes its impact on people (staff, customers, stakeholders, communities) and the environment. Planning for the Triple Bottom Line is good business practice as more and more businesses see the value of doing good. It seems increasingly unacceptable in the eyes of many consumers that businesses should only care about the economic outcome. Instead, the usual “bottom line = profit” should be replaced with the Triple Bottom Line (TBL): people, planet and profit. If a company does not account for its social and environmental impact, then it does not account for the full cost of doing business, according to John Elkington, who first introduced the TBL in 1994 (!). Research indicates that contributing towards the TBL is a win/win situation: In New Zealand two thirds of the workforce prefer to work for a company with strong values even if paid less. And further research suggests that there can be significant cost savings (up to 45 %) when switching to social procurement in order to grow social impact.

So where do you start if you want to grow your TBL? If you’d like some help in talking this through obligation-free I’d love to hear from you.

Here are five simple suggestions to get you started:

  1. Review your mission and values to reflect caring about your social and environmental impact as well as your economic impact.
  2. Consider substituting business (and personal) gifts with gift cards from The Good Registry which channels the whole gifting industry towards charitable trusts for a better tomorrow for all of us.
  3. Contact Akina to find out more about social impact. One way of growing your social impact is by reviewing your supply chain to include suppliers with social impact or in other words: social procurement. Fwd.org.nz is growing the social procurement movement in New Zealand. You’ll find a list of suppliers for social procurement on their website.
  4. Replace all your lighting with LEDs (if you haven’t already done so). For further suggestions, use the free assessment provided by the official NZ Climate Action Toolbox.
  5. Contact us to find out more about your environmental impact and get help in measuring your carbon emissions. We take pleasure in giving free initial advise to create a better tomorrow for all of us.

Let’s do some good today!