The Benefits of Sustainability for Businesses

The Benefits of Sustainability for Businesses


COP summits in recent years have made it pretty clear that we can’t rely on governments alone to tackle climate change, and that we need businesses to step up. Reassuringly, 96% of businesses feel increasing pressure to become more sustainable. However, it’s easier said than done, with businesses citing finances, time, and a lack of consistency in the measurement of ESG principles (Environmental, Social and Governance) as barriers to being more sustainable. Despite these hurdles, the rewards for business are significant. In this article, we cover why sustainability is important for businesses, its benefits, and how you can get started.

Why Is Sustainability Important in Business?

In 2020, businesses accounted for 18% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions. A British Business Bank survey found that small to medium businesses, in particular, contribute to 50% of all business-driven emissions in the UK. Businesses therefore have a significant impact on the environment, and a responsibility to improve this as part of the government’s wider Net Zero goals. 

Benefits of Sustainability for Businesses

When businesses put sustainability at the front of their plans, there are benefits for the planet and for their own commercial success. 

✔ Boost Brand

Sustainability is great for the bottom line, but it also works wonders for the brand too. As consumers are increasingly making decisions based on the environment, sustainable business practices can become a main source of competitive advantage. For example, a study by Mastcard found that 62% of people want companies to prioritise sustainable practices. Gen Z, in particular, prioritise sustainability practices over brand names. Indeed, brands whose marketing showed commitment to social and/or environmental value generated 65% of all consumer goods sales. 

✔ Attract Talent

Loyalty, reputation and sales can shoot up when you are more sustainable, but the best people will also want to come and work for you. Two-thirds of UK employees have said they’d be more likely to work for an organisation that has strong environmental values. In addition, when a business demonstrates its commitment, employees are more likely to remain loyal, reducing turnover and the expenses associated with hiring and training new staff — a quarter of Gen Z and millennial employees have said that a company having a sustainability agenda will influence them to stay in their role. In short, sustainability attracts top talent.

✔ Please Stakeholders

A McKinsey Global Survey recently found that 83% of C-suite leaders and investment professionals believe ESG programs will generate more shareholder value in five years’ time than they do today.This demonstrates the increasing importance of sustainability in attracting investment and satisfying stakeholders.

✔ Save Time

Implementing sustainable practices can streamline operations and reduce inefficiencies, saving you time in the long run.

✔ Save Money

Sustainable business strategies like reducing emissions and waste production, offsetting unavoidable emissions, and limiting the use of energy, water and raw materials, can massively reduce costs. And, as governments incentivise investment in decarbonisation, businesses can boost revenue by expanding into profitable new markets while enjoying tax benefits and capital allowances (e.g. tax credits, business deductions, and government subsidies).

YouGov also found that customers are willing to pay more for environmental products, with younger customers in particular willing to pay extra for sustainable products. As well as saving you money then, it can also make you more money in the long-run. 

✔ Save the Planet!

Ultimately, sustainability is crucial for the future of our planet. Businesses that fail to adapt risk their long-term success as environmental concerns continue to grow.

How  Businesses Can Be More Sustainable

1. Conduct a Sustainability Assessment & Set Goals

Begin by assessing your current environmental impact and identifying areas for improvement.. This might include energy consumption, waste generation or supply chain practices. 

Establish clear, measurable and actionable sustainability goals to guide your efforts, for example to minimise waste.

2. Implement Sustainable Practices

Now that you’ve taken a look at your current practices and determined what can be changed or implemented to be more green, it’s time to put it in motion. In the UK, the most common action to reduce emissions that is taken by businesses is switching to low emission light bulbs (29%). However, there are several different approaches you can take:

  • Upgrade Energy Systems: Improve lighting, heating and cooling systems to make your energy use more efficient. According to, the average start-up could reduce its energy bill by 18-25% by installing energy efficiency measures with an average payback of less than 1.5 years. And it is estimated 40% of these savings would require zero capital cost.
  • Insulation: Use door insulation and draught-proof windows to keep the heat in, or invest in wall and floor insulation. 
  • Recycling: Encourage recycling by providing employees with the proper facilities, such as more XYZ.
  • Use Electric Vehicles: Do you offer a company car? Use electric vehicles to reduce emissions, and get ahead of the ban on new petrol and diesel cars in 2030. 
  • Cycle-to-Work Schemes: Consider implementing a bike-to-work program or providing incentives for using public transportation to reduce emissions from employees commuting to the office.
  • Eco-Friendly Packaging: Instead of using plastic, commit to eco-friendly packaging alternatives. After all, most British consumers want more eco-friendly packaging, with 50% saying they would choose an eco-friendly packaging option at a higher price.

3. Evaluate Your Supply Chain 

Assess the sustainability of your suppliers and partners. Choose to work with those who share your commitment to environmental responsibility and encourage others to adopt sustainable practices. While it might be cheaper to import plastic products, for example, is there a better way for you to do this? How do you 

The same goes for your deliveries; How can you make deliveries more sustainable? Which courier or delivery services are the most committed to reducing climate change? 

4. Partner with Nonprofit Organisations 

Collaborate with non-profits focused on environmental conservation. These partnerships can provide valuable knowledge and resources, help support community initiatives, and enhance your company's sustainability efforts.

Indeed, if you’re struggling to get started with a sustainability plan, a non-profit organisation can help you get started and make an impact. 


By incorporating these practices, businesses can not only contribute to a healthier planet but also reap significant commercial benefits, ensuring long-term success and resilience.

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