What are the Benefits of Sustainability to Businesses?
Globally, corporate leaders increasingly agree that good sustainability is simply good business and recognise the value sustainability brings to the organisation.
Enhance Risk Management & Enhance Brand ProtectionConsidering the interests of parties concerned about a company's impact is one way of better anticipating and managing risk.
Companies that perform well in sustainability are able to enhance their reputation and build goodwill with the public and non-governmental organisations. Conversely, companies that ignore sustainability or those that do not perform well can damage their brand and reputation.
Greenwash is a term used to describe companies that may not operate in a sustainable manner but brand their products and policies as environmentally-friendly in order to gain a competitive advantage. Amongst key traits observed in greenwash reporting include:
- Emphasis on a narrow set of attributes without considering more material environmental issues
- Environmental claims that are broad and cannot be verified by supporting information
- Failure to disclose the organisational / operational boundaries of the environmental claims
- Environmental claims that may be truthful but are irrelevant to a company's stakeholders
- Hence, companies must ensure that they adopt sustainability for the right reasons and report transparently on their actions
Increase employee engagementIn an increasingly intense war for talent, good sustainability practices by companies increase differentiation and have the potential to attract and retain employees and foster greater productivity.
In January 2009, a Gen-Y survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers Malaysia found that 77% of Gen- Y's in Malaysia said they would consider leaving an employer whose social responsibility values were no longer in alignment with their own.1
Increase Cost SavingsCompanies that adopt sustainable practices have also reported increased cost savings through areas such as reduced energy use and raw material wastage, and lower waste disposal costs.
Enjoy Tax IncentivesCompanies who undertake sustainability activities may be eligible for tax deductions, tax exemptions and other tax benefits depending on the qualification criteria.
Improve Access to CapitalFinancial institutions are increasingly incorporating social and environmental criteria into their assessment of projects and general lending. When making decisions about where to place their money, investors are looking for indicators of sustainable management in companies in response to pressure from their own stakeholders to finance more environmentally and socially acceptable projects and businesses.
Identify New Business OpportunitiesEngaging stakeholders and drawback from a diverse audience can be a rich source of ideas for new products, processes and markets. Demand for more energy or resource efficient products is driving innovation, and companies that respond best have a market opportunity.
With increasing focus on labour and environmental issues in global supply chains, a Malaysian company that is certified to environmental and social standards may be a more attractive supplier to particular retailers in Europe and the US, for example. A sustainable supply chain will also increase foreign viability. The history of good business has always been one of being alert to trends, innovation and responding to markets. Mainstream advertising increasingly features the environmental or social benefits of products.