Sustainability is top of the agenda for business leaders in 2022.
Research from financial service Mastercard reveals that business leaders believe enacting sustainable practices will be the next significant challenge for Australian organisations.
The research highlights that sustainable business practices will be essential to long-term company survival.
Let’s break down the benefits of going green. And why businesses should dive into sustainable production.
Customers and employees go green
Over the last several years, pressure has mounted from customers on businesses to green their products. Where the customers go, companies follow.
The research shows 81 per cent of Australian consumers want to reduce their carbon footprint. Almost half said they would avoid businesses that did not source their products sustainably.
Up to 13 per cent of consumers said that by 2024 they would only buy from sustainable businesses. The findings highlight the risk to organisations that do not prioritise environmental practices.
Half of Australians are currently looking for or considering new employment opportunities in 2022. Businesses that do not take climate action are less attractive to potential employees.
Almost half of this group say they would not work for an employer that did not have sustainable practices.
Small businesses are taking on the climate crisis
SMEs are taking the lead in Australia’s fight against climate change.
Despite often having fewer resources, Australia’s SMEs are taking action to operate sustainably.
Most local business leaders recognise the challenge and opportunity sustainability presents. As many as 58 per cent say they are committed to improving their business’s sustainability over the next year.
Yet, 17 per cent of SME leaders report being unsure of where to start on their sustainability journey.
One option is to join green initiative groups. Many small businesses are joining existing initiatives to give back to the planet. As many as 77 per cent of SMEs are looking to support community-led initiatives such as:
- Tree planting collectives
- Local clean up days
- Recycling programs.
Networks and community-led initiatives can have a massive impact in tackling climate change. These groups enable organisations of all sizes to help in the climate fight.
According to Richard Wormald, Division President, Australasia, Mastercard, the research reinforces that implementing sustainable business practices must be a key agenda item for 2022.
“Tackling the global climate crisis isn’t possible without everyone’s involvement. No matter how big or small their footprint is, Australians are looking to organisations to step up and do their part in protecting the planet.
“Taking collective action provides an opportunity to reduce overheads and time-consuming administration for SMEs. While contributing to a greater output and result for the environment.”
By joining like-minded organisations, local businesses can contribute to the planet’s future.
How technology can make the sustainable transition smooth
Australian consumers and business leaders are embracing technology. Tech is helping businesses to become more sustainable and fight against climate change.
Eighty-four per cent of consumers who track their carbon footprint use technology like apps or wearables.
A quarter of consumers said they would make more purchases if brands allowed them to track their carbon consumption.
Almost three-quarters of business leaders are interested in using new technologies to improve sustainability. This tech includes:
- Data analytics (45 per cent)
- Automation technology (42 per cent)
- Blockchain (32 per cent) enables brands to trace and share product lineage, so customers can make informed purchases.
“In the digital age, businesses and consumers alike can leverage technology to track and manage carbon and other emissions across the value chain. From sourcing materials and manufacturing to final distribution and personal consumption,” said Mr Wormald.
Making a profit while doing the right thing
Implementing sustainable practices is perceived by some as a costly exercise. Yet, 32 per cent of consumers said they would choose a more sustainable option even if it is more expensive. This consumer attitude may make going green worth the investment.
More than half of businesses are confident green initiatives will increase their profits in 2022. A belief that shopper sentiment seems to support.
If the cost is the same, one in three Australian consumers always choose sustainable products over non-sustainable options.
Making purchases that benefit the environment is now considered on par with supporting local businesses (53 per cent). Only just behind making purchases that save them money (60 per cent).
Over half of Australian businesses say they intend to meet this growing customer demand. They will diversify their product or service offering in 2022 to make themselves more sustainable.
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