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Sustainability and the Start-Up: The Value of Implementing Sustainable Measures into Your Business Plan

Posted on December 09 2015 | Author: Emily Hartwig

This month, France will chair and host the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The main objective of the Convention is to create a new international agreement on climate change – a major focus of which will be sustainability and creating a sustainable future for our global economy. You might be wondering, “What does sustainability have to do with my business?” and “is incorporating sustainability really worth it during this development stage of my company?”

Traditionally in business, a company’s bottom line includes profits, return on investment and shareholder value. In today’s market exists John Elkington’s business theory: the Triple Bottom Line. This hybrid of traditional and modern ideals is an accounting framework that incorporates three dimensions of performance into a company’s business plan: environmental, social and financial. Sustainability planning allows companies to incorporate various tactics to elevate their influence and impact on these three dimensions of performance, and ultimately, accelerate their business. 

Ellen Kappes, an MBA focused on sustainability in business, details the benefits of sustainability planning for start-ups and small businesses:

“Sustainability concepts naturally align with the core values of most entrepreneurs and therefore can easily be embedded in a start up business”. Sustainable measures can include energy reduction planning by means of energy efficient devices, and waste diversion by means of recycling and composting programs. Both of these initiatives create cost savings, a core value among entrepreneurs and start-ups.

“Engagement at the early stages of a business will build a culture and competitive position that will be harder to create later on”. Enacting a sustainability plan in your early stages of development will reduce costs incurred as a result of potential future government mandates for these types of programs such as water use reductions and pollution prevention measures.

“Formalizing sustainability goals early on will ensure that you make good on your intentions and will force you to build organizational capacity”. Not only will incorporating sustainability in your business produce financial savings, but they will enhance your public image as well. Sustainable planning will improve your company profile and reduce the risk of negative public opinion. A company that exhibits social responsibility will garner customer loyalty and retention, which are highly valuable traits to financial inventors when you wish to expand your company.

“Time spent identifying sustainable solutions fosters creativity and innovation”. Sustainable planning initiatives will foster creative thinking, and creative thinking will result in an overall revolutionary business!

Emily Hartwig
Regulatory & Sustainability Assistant

Photo Credit: GreenBiz






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