By Ben Wagner
In the narrative around climate change and other eco matters, “big business” is usually not cast in a particularly favourable light. In fact, it’s downright shady. A villainous entity, faceless and unnamed, but undoubtedly up to no good. As for the downtrodden hero – your garden variety commune-dwelling, sandal-wearing placard brandisher. Slightly musty for eschewing the comforts of capitalism. And the two are doomed ever to be at odds. The end. Neat, tragic… fake news. Because big business and eco-consciousness can not only be friends; they can be business partners.
At VMLY&R, we believe in the power of purpose-driven business to change the world. So we asked Tom Fels, founder and CEO of Animarem, how businesses can align their purpose not only to change the world, but to save it – all without sacrificing the bottom line. Tom went a step further and explained why standing up for the planet is, in fact, good for business.
1/ Your People Get More Innovative
The “way things have always been done” hasn’t really worked out so well for the planet. So when business decides to be more sustainable, that decision necessitates innovation – which also happens to be the best mindset for streamlining processes, disrupting industries and all those other profitable buzz words we love. Jackpot.
2/ Unlocking Equity
Eco matters are a hot topic right now (excuse the pun) and there’s an opportunity for smaller businesses to tap into disproportionate brand value and attract investors whose values are aligned.
3/ Attracting (And Keeping) Top Talent
Where previous generations have failed the planet (yes, even us, geriatric millennials) Gen Z is stepping up. When you create a culture where eco-consciousness is embedded into the company values and evident in every aspect of the business, you create an environment that Gen Zs buy into – and which inspires them to do their best work.
4/ Building Customer Loyalty
Since Covid rolled into town, there’s been a 35% increase in sustainable brands. What’s more, three out of four customers in developed markets say they would pay more for a sustainable option, rather than going for a cheaper alternative that is harming the planet.
5/ Managing Risk
Becoming an accredited sustainable business means audits, accountability and constant measuring. And the more of this you have in your business, the more on top of the minutiae you become – which puts you in a better position to ID and eliminate risk.
The fact is, sustainability has gone mainstream and businesses that don’t get on board will get left behind. But if we’re going to make any kind of positive change, it’s time to adjust our preconceptions of what it means to be eco-conscious and realise that we can do both. After all, on Zoom, it’s all business on top, sandals on the bottom anyway.