The transition to sustainability doesn't have to be impossible. Our Chief Strategy Officer explains why and how Cognician can help.
Although 90% of executives think sustainability is important, many companies have yet to implement a well-developed sustainability strategy. One often hears that the reason for this is that the problem is so complex it's hard to know where to start.
For generations, many businesses have operated in unsustainable ways with no imperative to change. However, a new era of sustainability has arrived, and we have moved past a time where embracing sustainable business practices is a choice for organizations. Now, every business needs to be a sustainable business.
Organizations need not look further than their consumers for proof that changes are happening. An Accenture report released last year on sustainable development in the Covid-19 era showed that 67% of consumers expect companies to invest in long-term sustainability initiatives. Furthermore, 65% of consumers expect governments and businesses to prioritize climate change in the post-crisis economic recovery. Lastly, 40% of employees think that their organizations did not demonstrate a commitment to sustainability during the pandemic.
Companies that do not adapt and follow the imperative set by consumers face an existential crisis. Take the example of the Oil and Gas industry. Continuing to burn fossil fuels is no longer an option. Many countries worldwide have begun to phase out and eventually ban vehicles powered by fossil fuels. Petroleum sales are a huge income source for oil companies, and when it dries up, what will they do? If you run a business with the possibility of your raw materials running out, you don't have a business.
Investing in sustainability will reap impressive returns for your business. In addition to ensuring the future of your business, studies have shown that sustainable business practices can boost a company’s profitability. Harvard economist Rebecca Henderson said, "Doing good and doing well are intertwined, and successful business strategies include both."
Doing Good Means Doing Well
Take the example of Interface, a carpet tile manufacturer. In the early 1990s, a customer asked the founder, Ray Anderson, what his company was doing for the environment. The answer was hard to hear because nothing about the organization was sustainable. This realization led Ray to the cusp of a decision – a point of transition between two different states – and fundamentally changed him. He stopped behaving in one way and started behaving in a categorically different way. Ray was activated. He felt the only way to future-proof his organization was by becoming fully sustainable.
With this mindset shift, Interface took a moonshot and aimed for a zero negative impact on the planet by 2020. In the first four years of their sustainability journey, sales increased by two-thirds, and profits doubled. In addition, cutting their waste by 40% created $76 million in cost savings. By 2000, annual savings were $185.4 million. In 2022, Interface operates on 99% renewable energy in the US and EU, and 60% of all new materials for their carpets come from recycled or bio-based sources. Overall, they have reduced their carbon footprint by 69%.
Activate Sustainability In Your Organization with Cognician
The story of Interface shows that taking small sustained actions can change everything. At Cognician, we wholeheartedly agree. One of the most significant issues facing businesses regarding sustainability is they don't know where to start. Personal actions are easy to take, but how do we actively shift mindsets across an entire enterprise and sustain this momentum at scale?
Cognician's employee activation platform can help.
We have recently launched our Sustainability Quest as part of our Activation Collection. The Quest focuses on five themes that align with multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals which will help your people activate sustainable behaviors where it's easiest – at home. It then challenges them in their work teams and at the enterprise level. In addition, the Quest helps participants shift their mindsets and realize that sustainability starts with them and that they can make a difference individually.
The Sustainability Quest is the first step to starting a dialogue and helping your people overcome the inertia surrounding climate change by taking it one step at a time. This program will create powerful changes across your organization by offering a gamified experience where users can take small actions and share how they think and feel about sustainability. As a result, organizations can crowdsource the best ideas on shifting their business transition to sustainability. So who better to ask than your people?
Let Cognician help your organization take the first step towards sustainability by signing up for a free trial of our Sustainability Quest or contact Cognican today to discover how our customized employee activation experiences can help your organization.