Today, businesses with a sustainable footprint enjoy a competitive advantage, but this advantage comes from a level commitment that goes way beyond a marketing campaign. Discerning consumers and employees see right through corporate greenwashing, and companies attempting to tackle the issue entirely through marketing reap little long-term return on their efforts.
There are many examples where real sustainability efforts – planned, implemented and monitored – lower capital costs, reduce waste, engage and unite employees and raise investor confidence.
In a recent survey, Odgers Berndtson interviewed 40 APAC leaders of MNCs to understand their sustainability practices, insights and attitudes. We wanted to find out if there is clear impact on business results.
Four themes emerged:
1: The business case for sustainability is a good one
The data shows that the financial bottom line is better in companies with sustainable practices.
2: It’s not just a Western thing
There is huge relevance in Asia.
3: Returns are directly linked to employee engagement
Today, employees look for meaning in their career. Sustainable practices have a real impact on engagement.
4: It attracts talent
Directly linked to engaging employees is engaging with potential employees.
The bottom line is that for many businesses, a commitment to sustainable practices has a direct link to long term financial performance. Beyond this though, there is a much greater awareness of environmental issues amongst the general population, which translates to customers and employees. Can any business afford to ignore this?
"Corporate social responsibility is a hard-edged business decision. Not because it is a nice thing to do or because people are forcing us to do it ... because it is good for our business."
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By Paul Butterworth MNI, Global Head of the Maritime & Shipping Practice at Odgers Berndtson