Why you need to build sustainability into your business strategy

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Why you need to build sustainability into your business strategy

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Opinion holder entrepreneur You are the contributor.

Terms like ‘sustainability’, ‘ESG’ and ‘social awareness’ have become corporate buzzwords. But if you want to simply check a checkbox, think again.

A sincere commitment to sustainability can be rewarded in a myriad of ways, not to mention maintaining trust. Lack of integrity about sustainability threatens relationships with both employees and customers.

Here’s what we’ve learned from embedding this value deeply into our business strategy:

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doing the right thing is good for business

Awareness of sustainable practices and products has increased dramatically over the last few decades. Whether it’s shifting generational expectations, the climate crisis, or other motivating factors, consumers appreciate brands that prioritize sustainability. A quick look at the numbers shows that given the choice, 32% of millennials would choose sustainable options over unsustainable options, and 47% of businesses say sustainability impacts adoption and retention. said to have given Investors understand that too. 90% of investors say they pay attention to the sustainability of their business.

Implementation method:

  • Start somewhere. Whether it’s recycling or providing reusable water bottles in the office, or setting up a formal DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) or ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) committee, initiatives big and small all make a difference. produce. Contribution intent is paramount. Don’t let the task at hand daunt you, focus on what’s manageable and meaningful to you.
  • keep it up. Sustainability is not a one-time initiative. It is a muscle that requires constant exercise to establish itself as part of strategy and operations. Like any initiative, you should set goals and analyze them regularly to find places to improve and build on your progress.
  • think biggerOnce that muscle is strong, challenge it in creative ways to further your worth. For example, plant a tree for each new customer. It’s an easy way to do your part while looking at what life is all about: the future that lies ahead of you.

Related: How to turn sustainability into strength for your brand and business

Sustainability is a business mindset

The concept of sustainability goes far beyond the realm of ESG. It is a way of growth and a mindset that can transform a company’s strategy and performance.

The temptation to think short-term, how to hit your goals for the month, how to put out the fire with a temporary fix, is too great in startup culture. Adopting a sustainable mindset means evaluating the long-term impact of short-term decisions and investing in future growth without expecting short-term gains. Ultimately, the two merge. Yesterday’s investment is today’s harvest, allowing us to continue planning for tomorrow.

Implementation method:

  • Prove the basics firstInsurance is a risk game. If you grow before you have underwriting rights, you will be forced out of business. We have spent years building, proving and refining our risk models to ensure a strong foundation for growth.
  • Maintain healthy unit economicsIt’s no secret that most growth companies in this market focus on unit economics. But in Silicon Valley, the pendulum tends to swing between focusing on strong fundamentals and driving growth at all costs. Adopting a sustainable mindset helps us stay focused and disciplined as we try to build a truly disruptive and lasting business.
  • Reassess and improve the organization every 50 employeesGrowth is important, but scaling properly can keep your mission on track and your people invested. It is important to re-evaluate how the organization operates after each 50 or so employees increase in order to structure processes and teams to maximize effective collaboration and decision-making.

RELATED: Is your company’s sustainability efforts failing?

Sustainability is included in our mission statement

Everything flows from the company’s mission. So when you make sustainability part of your mission, that virtue automatically becomes part of your DNA.

So my advice is to take your mission seriously and understand how sustainability fits naturally. I would like to go further and say that anyone who runs a company in this century has a responsibility to do so. Climate change is not a problem of the future. It’s here now. According to NASA, the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, intense heat waves, and devastating weather events, are becoming more prevalent.

If your industry feels more indirectly connected to sustainability, ask yourself how you can tie it to your company’s values ​​and product offerings in a truly authentic way. Patagonia’s 1% for the Success stories abound, from outdoor gear like Planet’s pledge and the CEO’s recent decision to donate the company to fight climate change, to cosmetics like Thrive Causemetics’ commitment to cruelty-free ingredients.

Ultimately, this is an exercise in defining your values, living them, and doing good in the process.