Introduction

The world is changing in a big way, and it’s time for many businesses to change too.

Increasingly, consumers are aware of the social, environmental, and economic impacts traditional business practices can have. When information is so easily shared, and social media reigns supreme, it’s more important than ever to review your business’s impact on the planet. It is crucial that you demonstrate to your customers the steps you’re taking to protect the planet and the people around you.  

Here are 6 advantages to running a sustainable business.

1) Sustainability Helps Businesses Succeed

Many businesses worry that adopting ‘sustainable’ practices will eat into their bottom line and involve significant investment. The changes you make to move towards a sustainable future may be big or small, however, don’t underestimate the long-term benefits that coincide with sustainable practices. Exploring renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, and other innovative approaches will lend themselves to an efficient operation that streamlines effort and conserves resources. Over time these cost savings will add up and positively impact your bottom line. 

Working with sustainable suppliers and fostering partnerships with like-minded businesses will also be vital to embedding sustainability into your business. Customers do their research in this area so make sure to bear this in mind. 

Need more evidence? On average, the top 100 sustainable global firms had significantly higher mean sales growth, return on assets, profit before taxes, and cash flows from operations from 2006 – 2010. Sustainability is pretty serious business. 

An example from a successful New Zealand business is wine producer, Yealands. From 2008 to 2013, Yealands aspired to be the most sustainable winery, and in fact, increased output from 100,000 to 900,000 cases all while embedding sustainable practices in their business operations. Since its peak in 2010, the carbon intensity of their production decreased by a whopping 55%.

2) Boosts Staff Retention

Not only are people more likely to shop from sustainable companies, but they are also more likely to want to work (and stay) at companies that are seen to be aligned with their values.

Sustainability is key facet of employee satisfaction that employers need to be aware of. Employees will choose to stay at workplaces longer when they feel they have a stake in how things operate and what kind of impact their work has on the world them. Why would you want to work for a business that focuses on profit alone, at the expense of people and the planet?

Embracing sustainability will ensure a positive impact not only on your customers but on your staff attraction and retention as well.

3) Sustainability Helps Our Planet

When we reflect on all the Human activities that have produced widespread and rapid changes in the environment, it can be incredibly confronting. Many of the changes to the atmosphere, ocean, biosphere and cryosphere (i.e. frozen areas) are irreversible. A significant number of components within the climate are now changing at rates never before seen, meaning it’s more important than ever to start making conscious efforts to prioritise change in your business.

There are many communities and environment-related initiatives, such as Fairtrade, The Organics Aotearoa, The Sustainable Business Network, and the Climate Leaders Coalition that are pushing for an increasingly sustainable future. Some great examples include The Sustainable Business Network that shares sustainable solutions with businesses to help the broader community embrace sustainable options regarding waste, nature and the climate.

The Sustainable Business Network offers tools and resources so anyone new to the concept of sustainability can understand the issues, risks and options for combating the negative effects of climate change. The organisation recently joined forces with BNZ to create The Climate Action Tool Box, a free resource for small businesses to learn about their emissions and how to reduce them.  

Moreover, the Climate Leaders Coalition comprises the signatories that generate 60% of NZ’s emissions with the purpose of “building irreversible momentum towards a zero-carbon future.” Organisations like the Coalition help keep businesses accountable for their environmental impact and to keep to their corporate promises.   

New Zealand Couriers has chosen to make sustainability a priority because we don’t think there’s an option not to. We are Toitū carbonreduce-certified members; members of the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme; and also members of the Climate Leaders Coalition because we advocate and strive to minimise our carbon footprint on the environment.

4) Sustainability Boosts Your Reputation

The mark of sustainability can help brands succeed in an increasingly competitive market. When consumers have the choice of two products with similar features, with one employing more socially responsible practices than the other – which do you think they’ll choose?

If you’re looking for ways to make your brand stand out from the rest, then demonstrating your commitment to sustainability may well be the answer.

Recent research shows that 72% of global consumers have stated that they deem sustainable packaging important… But only 18% are willing to pay extra for it. It is clear that consumers prefer a sender with a reputation for sustainability by default, without having to pay more.

This demonstrates that there is an undoubted expectation from consumers that businesses are now inherently sustainable. This trend will not be disappearing anytime soon!

5) High Demand and Low Supply

There’s no doubt that customers are looking for sustainable alternatives. In just five years, the popularity of internet searches for sustainable goods worldwide has risen by 71%. However, many consumers are deterred from adopting these alternatives due to their high cost and limited availability.

Naturally, the high demand and low supply drive up the price of sustainable options, making these alternatives unpalatable and unobtainable to the budget-conscious consumer. Studies around the world have demonstrated continued customer dissatisfaction at a lack of supply. For example, in just ten years, the proportion of Germans who feel there are enough sustainable goods available on the market has gone from 40% to 6%. A pretty major drop if you ask us! 

Embracing sustainability is your business signalling a commitment to a better future. Not only does this bolster your commercial reputation and drive up your customer base, it will give you the edge over your competitors who opt to maintain outdated business practices.

6) Future Regulations

In a recent publication, Ernst and Young reported rising energy costs and tighter environmental regulations as amongst the top ten risks for businesses in 2022. Moreover, US and EU governments are targeted with the hefty goal of reducing their carbon emissions by up to 55% by 2030.

Pursuing such goals will be a gradual process, and adopting change doesn’t happen overnight, especially at scale. But for those not subject to strict government policy, why not take a proactive approach to sustainability and get ahead of the game?

When governments do take a more regulated approach, your business will already be positioned to thrive without significant sudden expenditure being required.

Solar panels. Global warming. Green energy.

So, How Do I Create a Sustainable Business?

More and more Kiwi businesses are taking steps to become sustainable. These changes aren’t always easy, but they lead to significant advantages for the company and its employees in the long term. In general, businesses must recognise their responsibility to protect and preserve our environment by minimising any negative impacts on Earth’s ecosystems.

Continue reading below to explore innovative ways to reduce waste and steer your business in a more sustainable direction. 

Environmentally sustainable business practices:

Think about your Supply Chain

When ordering from international vendors, many Kiwi businesses are unaware of the role they’re playing in the environment. We’re talking long-distance travel and complicated transportation processes for everything you purchase. You can reduce the impact by ordering local, or creating partnerships with suppliers who are committed to reducing fleet emissions.

New Zealand Couriers is a great example of an environmentally-focused partner. We continuously look to reduce our fleet emissions, ensuring we maintain our status as a Toitū carbonreduce-certified organisation. Read more about our sustainable business policy here.

Adopt waste reduction strategies

By creating an office recycling bin, you can reduce your waste production by up to an astounding 85%. This will not only improve the environment but also cut your costs. Sounds good, right?

How to reduce plastic waste in the office?

Create awareness with your employees by starting that office recycling bin and providing information sessions about the latest environmental innovations and common misconceptions. For example, did you know that some materials cannot be recycled? Paper towels, for example, contain plastic fibres and cannot go through this process. Some soft drink bottles are now recyclable but I bet you didn’t know the lids of those bottles are often not.

Other recycling programmes could include waste audits to identify key stakeholders in waste, reuse centres, waste minimisation campaigns, waste storage systems and waste collection services.

The great news is that New Zealand Couriers’ courier satchels are now being made with 80%+ recycled content. Put simply, these packs contain plastic content that would otherwise be destined for landfill. This is an excellent example of what is known as ‘circularity’, the notion of recycling and reusing the same material multiple times, minimising the introduction of one-time waste. Circularity is a developing concept in the commercial world yet is vital to protecting our planet. As responsible Kiwi businesses, we must commit to doing better and embracing the notion of circularity. 

How to renew your energy

Renewable energy can be divided into 3 types, namely wind energy, solar power and hydropower. These forms of renewable energy sources have characteristics that do not create carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which is why they are considered green or clean energy.

Unfortunately, many businesses continue to use fossil fuels to power their offices. While being incredibly harmful to the environment, the impacts can be mitigated by installing solar panels or wind turbines.

An example of a company with a significant focus on renewable energy is Tesla, which offers 100% sustainable electricity through its Powerwall battery storage system. As an advocate for sustainability, Tesla has also partnered with SolarCity and installed solar arrays at homes and businesses, making sustainable practices not only easier for businesses but for consumers as well. 

Take Action

Being sustainable is a way of living. It means striving for a better future and living healthier, day in day out. As responsible businesses, planning is vital, and a big part of that is looking out for the environment and continually finding ways to have a positive impact. There are so many waste reduction strategies for businesses to embrace. All you need to do is find what works for your company and work towards implementing robust practices that will thrive for years to come.

To start making positive changes to your delivery supply chain, have a chat with us today.