5 reasons to give your CEO to make your company more sustainable

5 reasons to give your CEO to make your company more sustainable

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Here are a few arguments, and some nice graphs to add to your proposal.

It’s not always easy to convince your management to implement meaningful and sustainable solutions. Even when the workforce, the market and the projected costs are on your side. We have shortlisted five good reasons to send that draft email, knock that door, or send that calendar invite to take climate action to your company management.

In the head of a CEO, sustainability is often synonymous with consulting, audits, and large, long-term investment. Your mission will be to change their mind, firstly because climate change is everyone’s business, and secondly because in 2020 sustainable solutions for companies are accessible, beneficial, and impactful.

1. Reduce cost and maximize profit (by being sustainable)

According to research done by Bob Willard, author of The Sustainability Advantage, a small or medium company using best-practice sustainable solutions can increase its profit by 51% to 81% for a large manufacturing or distribution company, within 3 to 5 years. Best-practice sustainable solutions already exist, they just need to get started and implement them at every level of your company.

On top of saving money, you could also maximise your profit, according to a 2019 Harvard Business Review article, sustainable products sales grew 5.6 times faster than products marketed as non-sustainable.

Growth of sustainable marketed products
Growth of sustainable marketed products

2. Become an industry leader and gain market share

Even the oil, gas, and aviation industries have announced carbon reduction pledges. Does your company invest in carbon management services or use an offset calculator? Asking this can be a great conversation starter.

In Sweden, domestic flights fell by 9% fall in 2019 due to the growth of flight shaming. In response, companies have increased their commitment through flight offsetting. In November 2019, Easyjet became the first airline company to offset the entirety of their business’ carbon footprint.

This ambitious move was followed by many others (British airways, Qantas, Delta, Air France, Air Canada, Air Blue, Jetstar, etc.). Individuals acting collectively have the power to create change. When a leader of an industry commits publically to a climate action plan, all the competitors have to follow. It’s still time for your company to jump on the train of business sustainability!

At the moment, too few companies are taking actions to save our planet, yet the movement is growing faster each year. A survey by The Boston Consulting Group found that, in 2018, only 13% of companies were acting decisively by setting carbon neutral goals and concretely reducing their corporate carbon footprint.

In 2017, 85% of S&P 500 companies reported on ESG performance.
In 2017, 85% of S&P 500 companies reported on ESG performance.

3. Improve your image as an employer

Nowadays, people, especially millennials, are looking for jobs with purpose and value. When it comes to corporate sustainability, applicants put a strong emphasis on this aspect. As Fast Company reported, nearly 40% have chosen a job because of company sustainability. Globally, more than a third of employees said that they’ve given more time and effort to a job because of their employer’s climate action plan.

Sustainability is key to raise your employee’s engagement and improve your company branding. A recent study by Peakon of 80 million employees revealed that concern about the companies’ environmental impact increased by 52% globally. In the manufacturing sector, the concern rose by 59% in the past year. The global workforce is looking for more sustainable solutions and sustainable workplaces within their companies.

4. Retain customers because they are not joking about it 

According to Futerra, 88% of USA and UK consumers want brands to help them live sustainably.

From the high-profile boycotts against Nutella’s unsustainable palm oil to Nike using waste to create the latest trendy sneakers, customers are influencing brands to change their business sustainability strategies. In 2015, McDonald’s closed more restaurants than they opened in part because of a lack of transparency in the long term and poor ratings by the public. Whether by will or by force, companies have to take a stance against climate change and take climate action. Better get help to do it right.

According to a report by Deloitte, climate change is now the top priority for both Gen Z and millennials among all challenges facing society. Climate change is everywhere because it's important and we need to rush to take actions.

Already 1,341 jurisdictions and local governments covering 803 million citizens across the world have declared climate emergencies. Is climate change the main concern among employees in your company? Has your company developed a climate action plan? How do you answer to your customers’ demands for greener products and services?

5. Make the company more attractive to investors 

Pressure from the top and the bottom to commit to sustainability.
Pressure from the top and the bottom to commit to sustainability.

Investors are encouraging the sustainability trend. After a long period of observation, the largest players in the world such as BlackRock Investment or the Norwegian Sovereign Fund have decided to take climate action by divesting from the most polluting industries.

The Paris Conference (COP21) saw institutional investors with assets of more than $3 trillion divest from fossil fuels. Moreover, this shift is necessary, as a report published by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability in 2015 revealed that global investment portfolios could lose up to 45% as consequences of short-term shifts in climate change sentiment.

As an employee, you have the power to create change in your company and empower your colleagues and boss to take climate action and implement business sustainability strategies. Why not start by preparing a short presentation to your manager on why it all makes sense? 

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