Over the years we’ve seen companies be ridiculed, chastised, boycotted, and even severely fined for their efforts, or lack thereof, concerning the environment and communities surrounding them. Some of these companies have figured out a way to change their “evil” ways and some have done the PR to appear that way too. But, green-washing needs to become a thing of the past and companies need to put full effort into the sustainability and CSR plans. If not, the competition will participate and it will be too late to gain a competitive edge. And you might ask yourself if that edge you gain is worth it. Of course it is!
Companies participating in sustainability and CSR programs have proven to reduce overall costs to manufacturing and operating costs over time. For some of these companies, like 3M or FedEx Kinkos, these savings come within short periods of time. With the right processes and strategies companies can save money, time, and materials enabling them to gain marketability. Changes to become more innovative and more efficient in their processes should be every company’s goal. Why throw something away when it can be used later? Why use something in a process that will no longer be available when there is a better alternative? Why be stuck changing your processes to meet the new standards? Be the change, set the standard, save money, be more marketable and thrive.
So what happens if the company doesn’t immerse themselves in CSR?
A company does not have to participate, but it runs the risk of losing out competitively for years to come when those companies can no longer purchase pricey materials for production, cannot enter new markets because they are occupied by competitors, or cannot remain profitable because of costly fines or production process revamps. They will also be likely to become a statistic and fall into a category of low-sustainable companies that have been outperformed by high-sustainable companies from the 1990s until present day. Keeping these things in mind, is it worth it to risk the future of your profits, your stakeholders, your company?
In order to overcome the pitfalls that we have seen from low-sustainability, you must act now instead of later, procure future markets while maintaining the present day ones, be the voice for change, and look at social responsibility not as a risk, but as an investment. In a world where technology changes so rapidly and information is so abundant, companies must look for innovation and even though this innovation may come at a cost, there is more to gained than lost. Take the lead. Change the way. Lead the change.
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