Responding to environmental issues has been an increasing trend in the business sector. Being an eco-friendly business paves the way for innovation, wealth creation, and new market opportunities. In this age, many believe that the environment and businesses can win together by following green practices that promise the reconciliation of economic and environmental concerns.
Despite the environmental initiatives of many businesses in the last decades, not much has changed in terms of the overall treatment of the environment. Although people have become more informed and educated than before, not everyone contributes to environmental protection and sustainability.
Many businesses today are having a tough time being more eco-friendly. Some of them turn to sustainability consultants to help them create sustainable, low carbon business operations. They also set strategies and directions to businesses to create a higher commercial value and positive impact on the environment.
While there are plenty of ways to be an eco-friendly business, some business leaders believe that following sustainable is highly unrealistic and expensive. They believe it might harm their businesses while helping the environment at the same time. In this article, learn about the different challenges of implementing eco-friendly initiatives in a business and overcoming them.
Customers don’t consider eco-friendly in their purchase decisions
Sustainability-related tradeoffs are a part of a consumer’s buying decision, from knowing what product to buy or the amount of energy usage. When making tradeoffs, customers have to consider the impact, level, and time period.
Understanding how customers value sustainability in terms of product attributes can help businesses create products or services that cater to their emerging needs. This will also magnify their role in educating customers on environmental issues and choosing the right product attributes. When done well, it will encourage customers to make informed tradeoffs towards sustainability and make educated purchase decisions.
Aside from customers, this approach also applies to business investors. Lenders and shareholders should be aware of which companies they should financially invest in. This means choosing between companies that are willing to trade off their corporate attributes for a different aspect. Should they fund a power firm that uses cheaper coal or the one that uses alternative or renewable energy? Knowing how people decide on tradeoffs will help companies create sustainable choices.
Metrics are confusing
According to Geoffrey Jones of Harvard University, sustainability has a crippling vagueness about it. While carbon emissions are taking too much attention because of climate change, soil erosion, deforestation, and climate change are serious environmental problems that shouldn’t be ignored.
For instance, companies are using renewable energy (e.g., solar panels) for their electricity to reduce carbon emissions. But this remains questionable since solar panels consist of rare materials that are unsustainably mined.
Sustainability goals or issues with no specific metrics are tough to manage and measure. These include sustainability practices because their impact on society and people is unclear. Often, the impact of a sustainability initiative depends on how and who implements it.
Today, there’s plenty of measurement and metric systems to help corporations evaluate their sustainability initiatives. Some examples are life-cycle assessment and ecological footprint. But the problem arises in determining which metric is better than other options and how businesses will identify which one is suitable for their situation.
In this case, companies should understand that different metrics have unique purposes. Some focus on products, organizations, and manufacturing. When adopting sustainability initiatives, companies need proper guidance on choosing which metric will help set the benchmark, identify areas for improvement, and signal their eco-friendly commitment.
Governments should be more involved
The government has plenty of tools to promote sustainability in businesses, such as markets, regulations, and taxes. The problem is they’re often poorly measured, used ineffectively, or established in a fragmented manner. For the management and businesses to implement the best sustainability practices, they need a comprehensive policy to support their eco-friendly initiative.
To create a bigger impact, leading corporations are looking for policies that will drive everyone to step up their sustainability outcomes. This will encourage more businesses to develop new practices, products, and measures that will propel them towards their environmental goals.
Going green can be an easy and worthwhile business pursuit only if business leaders are willing to extend their contribution to society. For a business to become eco-friendly, they have to set goals and provide incentives to employees willing to meet them. Since more people are becoming aware of the current global climate, businesses should take the opportunity to encourage customers to take part in their eco-friendly initiatives.