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Blog: Increase the value of your business by boosting its green credentials

With COP26 behind us, the scale of the work we all have to do to get a grip on climate change is becoming clear. Cost, effort, and sacrifice are what we have to get used to, but with this, there is clearly an opportunity.

As mindsets change, customers and investors are likely to reward businesses that put sustainability and the future of the planet first. Green is, most definitely, the new black.

So what can you do to go green, fight climate change and add value to your business?

Here are a few ideas to spark further thought.

Lead from the front

As you will know, most good business initiatives are strategically underpinned. They have buy-in and derive energy from senior leadership.

It’s true that every little helps, but rather than take a scattergun approach, develop a strategic plan to adopt green measures.

Prepare a business case that includes all the benefits of ‘going green’. This should factor in the advantage gained by being ahead of the curve before government policy or consumer influences force your hand.

Internal operations

So what green actions might your strategic plan include? There are so many options, ranging from the simple to the complex; from shrewd actions which may save you money, to extravagant gestures which generate positive publicity and goodwill.

  • Looking around your office, it shouldn’t be too difficult to have a recycling policy for waste material. This is a very visible action that acts as a constant reminder to staff and people who visit that you practise sustainability.
  • Here’s a bright idea: finally make that switch from old-style lighting to the latest LEDs, which can save you up to 90% on energy usage and cost. This is one of those subtle but important actions which could even save you money.
  • Heat pump systems have been in the news a lot of late. Could the way you heat or cool your office be more energy efficient while still delivering value for money?
  • You can even choose website hosting services that are carbon negative. Did you know that every website page view is said to generate 1.76g of CO2? So a site with 100,000 views per month will produce over two metric tonnes of carbon a year!
  • And finally, the mythical paperless office is easier to achieve than ever with cloud software, high-resolution computer screens, and an array of mobile tech. When was the last time you reviewed your printer usage?

Promoting green credentials & corporate social responsibility

All the internal actions you can take are important operationally, but just because they are internal does not mean that you can’t promote good work. Talking about these changes in marketing and comms materials may be the point of difference that sets you apart from your competitors.

Value is still the number-one influencer on buying decisions, but one survey carried out for Accenture found that 47% of shoppers want to do business with retailers who are environmentally conscious. That percentage is unlikely to go down as environmental issues become more acute.

An effective way to supplement the good work you do in your operations is to bring sustainability into your corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.

You don’t have to be a big company to have one of these. It could be as simple as donating to a nominated charity, doing one or two fundraising events, or joining a tree-planting scheme to offset your carbon footprint.

Whatever you do, as long as it is sincere, be sure to promote it to generate some PR buzz and enhance your brand.

Recruitment & retention

As well as promoting green credentials in marketing materials, make sure your team knows the plan and is engaged in delivering it. You might even have a ‘green champion’ among your staff to take a lead.

Increasingly, workforces are enthused by purpose-led organisations, so you may well find that living and breathing sustainability improves your recruitment and retention too.

Financial reporting

Last year the Chancellor announced new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements for the financial sector which aims to create an industry-wide standard for reporting key sustainability-related information.

It’s currently being rolled out within the pensions and investment sectors, so its focus is on ensuring that sustainability risks, opportunities, and impacts of investment activities are transparent, and that sustainability characteristics of an investment product are clear.

With ever-increasing demands for the government to act on climate change and investment strategies being clearly aligned to the sustainability agenda, will we see similar requirements come into play for reporting in other sectors? Why not get ahead of the curve by considering and tracking green credentials now.

Beware greenwashing

Unfortunately, some businesses can and are either deliberately or accidentally misleading consumers and investors when it comes to the environmental performance of their products or activities.

60% of ESG investors raised it as a challenge to SDR roll out, and there is mistrust of certain types of claims amongst consumers, too. Vague language, buzzwords, and lack of true transparency can do more harm to a brand than good.

The key here, if you’re going to publicise your efforts in the sustainability space, is to make sure it’s done with the best intentions at heart. Actions and how you communicate them need to align with your genuine company goals and values.

Turning green activity into additional value

We hope this has shown or reminded you of some of the ways in which going green could help you:

  • Cut costs
  • Aid your marketing
  • Attract and keep talent
  • De-risk against macro changes in government policy and societal vie

Ultimately increasing the value of your business

Valuing your company

If you’re looking for some advice on how to value your business, either for succession or exit planning, get in touch with our strategic advice team today.

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