As the UK’s first Climate Neutral Certified accountancy firm, since we set up shop in 2016, we’ve always kept the environment at the forefront of any business decisions that we’ve made. We truly feel that we couldn’t be more committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business – and the businesses we work with – at a time when being socially conscious couldn’t be more critical. But why is sustainability so critical and what are the benefits of a business becoming climate neutral?
Barely 30 years ago, the collective mindset of many businesses and people living day-to-day life was that the world’s resources were endless; gas, coal and oil were bottomless pits of potential that we could continue to tap to our hearts’ content. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Constant use of the planet’s resources with very little forward-thinking where carbon emissions and global warming are concerned has left the earth struggling to breathe, so the options are either pull our heads out of the sand and find new, sustainable ways to live or become extinct.
Before you head out to spend your savings on one final hoorah, hold your horses – there is good news. The world has woken up and is changing. People are becoming more aware of food miles, waste and packaging, recycling and being mindful of energy usage, and crucially business brands are working hard to make a difference. Commitment to the environment is finally very cool and eco-friendly brands are using their positive reputations to inspire more sustainable practices across their industries. Any stronghold in today’s green-thinking marketplace needs companies to put their money where their mouths are and actively contribute to a healthier planet, not just sit about brainstorming about it in meetings.
Better news still, the rise of the climate-conscious company is already well underway – consumers want to spend their hard-earned money on stuff they feel good about and 90% of CEOs now credit sustainability as the key to success (SSIR).
Thinking beyond environmental basics like keeping the heating switched off in the office or using recyclable packaging, companies making a real difference today are now working out long-term strategies for every element of their product or service to be sustainable, employing sustainability staff to oversee this, and publishing reports so that their efforts and results are available for any customer to have a read through at the touch of a button.
UK brands like allplants, a plant-based frozen meal delivery company, and OLIO, an app developed for people and businesses to find homes for food they’re not going to eat, are great examples of entrepreneurs who have found their USP in the spirit of being environmentally aware and have worked hard to create an eco-friendly brand. Why? Apart from saving the world, the power behind these decisions lies with us, the customer.
With scientists from all around the world agreeing that human civilisation is under serious threat in the next 30 years (that’s nothing – 1991 was 30 years ago!) if sustainability isn’t taken seriously, thankfully customers in their multi-millions are committed to spending their cash with eco-friendly companies. Our behaviour has shifted, so if a company fails to show that they’re protecting the planet, they can kiss a massive chunk of their potential market goodbye.
It’s pretty clear that the demand for eco-conscious companies is on the upsurge, but you need to make sure that you’re authentic. Pull it off with dedication and resolve and the benefits are multiple.
Firstly, millennials – the biggest consumer demographic in the world – would absolutely choose to both do business with and work for an environmentally friendly business over a non-sustainable counterpart any day of the week; it’s structurally bound in their DNA. Known as the green generation, get the seal of approval from millennials and you will automatically appeal to the next generation of customers.
Besides securing support from people whose own values reflect those of your business, there are other more practical benefits of being eco-friendly including reduced costs – it’s an outdated myth that becoming more eco involves a massive cash splash and actually, implementing sustainable practices is a move that’s been shown to benefit your bottom line; a more respected brand image by showing that you genuinely care about social and environmental issues and not just profit; and less pressure from regulators – hallelujah, environmental regulators are a now a thing and failure to engage in eco-conscious practices that are simple to implement can incur serious fines and penalties.
Going green has become less of an option and more of a demand – 77% of Brits (Retail Times) alone have switched, avoided or boycotted brands because of their environmental policies – and as a result companies of all sizes across all industries are standing up to do their bit for the planet. We’ve got a long way to go, but some brands are real trailblazers in the fight for a cleaner, healthier world, so here’s a bit of info on our favourites.