UC San Diego: Sustainable Practices Boost Businesses
Strategic sustainability is good for business, according to a summit at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).
Will Marre, consulting director of UCSD Extension's Responsible Enterprise Forum, addressed 10 things every business leader should know about making a green difference, including:
- Customers' needs and wants: More people are choosing non-toxic, no-waste products. Sustainable practices can also "create a cause bigger than your brand"; over 80% of consumers say they choose brands that support good causes as a way of "voting with their wallets."
- The impact on your bottom line: Reinventing products and services for a "sustainable future" is an economic opportunity waiting to be tapped. Going green can actually help cut costs, especially when you focus on improving durability, reusing parts, and eliminating packaging.
- Growing a green business: Brainstorming how to satisfy business needs without waste or even cost will produce new business models that set your company apart from others. Setting high sustainability standards generates "leapfrog" designs to invent new ways of meeting the challenge.
- Rebrand your business: Sustainability "creates smart marketing and attracts top talent." Touting your environmentally friendly policies is not only good for your company's green image, it also helps educate your customers on the benefits of your green products. A focus on sustainability makes your company attractive to talented new college grads who want to work for a company that cares.
Embracing sustainability is not an option, Marre adds: "The debate over green is over, and green won. Consider the failures of GM and the transformation of Walmart. It's better to ride the wave than drown in the riptide of change."