A survey of 546 professionals from 65 countries by online education company Get Smarter found that businesses stand to gain significant benefits from investing in sustainability.
Introducing the survey results, Get Smarter stated:
“As a future-focused professional, it’s important to understand the crucial business benefits that sustainability offers. It’s well-documented that sustainable initiatives improve a company’s financial performance, optimize innovation, and achieve major cost savings. Customers are also choosing to support brands that align with their personal values.”
Discussing the specifics, Get Smarter stated that investing in sustainability:
- Reduces business costs by improving efficiency.
- Increases market share by becoming more attractive to eco-minded customers.
- Enhances company image by advertising sustainable activities.
- Improves employee recruitment and retention by appealing to the environmental values of talented workers.
- Anticipates environmental regulations, preparing for changing legal frameworks and gaining a competitive edge.
Get Smarter found that adhering to globally recognized Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Environment, Society, and Governance (ESG) principles also reaps significant rewards:
“Companies with high ESG ratings consistently outperform the market in both the medium and long term.”
One case given is global leading money manager Blackrock, which integrated ESG criteria into 100% of its portfolios and achieved carbon neutrality across all of its operations.
Get Smarter noted that these business incentives to go green are at least partially attributable to a rise in demand for sustainability among consumers, who are increasingly supporting environmentally friendly businesses and boycotting environmentally unfriendly businesses:
“Nearly 80% of consumers indicate sustainability is important to them, and 60% are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. Based on this, not embracing sustainable business practice poses a serious business risk.”
With regard to individuals, 63% of respondents are making lifestyle choices with sustainability in mind — a 10% increase from 2020. Examples include screening for sustainability in investments, recycling, avoiding single-use plastic, and buying seasonal produce. Older generations play a more active role in sustainable practice: Generation X accounts for 44% of sustainability professionals while Millennials account for 23% and Generation Z 2%.
According to Get Smarter, the positive impact of embracing sustainability extends to individuals, with 21% of professionals seeing a positive impact on their career and earning potential and 11% starting their own business after developing sustainability skills.
Speaking to its own area of expertise, Get Smarter emphasized that education is indispensable to overcoming the climate emergency, equipping individuals with the skills needed to build out a sustainable future.
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