After years of lingering near the bottom of business’s priority lists, sustainability is finally top of the agenda. Eco friendly brands are going from strength to strength, people are opting to buy green products and informed consumers are calling out greenwashing. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably made great efforts to make sure your company is trying to reduce its environmental footprint. Kudos.
It makes good business sense too. New research from Wunderman Thompson has revealed that 88% of people think sustainability should be a standard business practice. It’s no longer a ‘nice to have’ but something that people expect from companies.
So in a world where eco friendly brands are emerging everywhere, how do you stand out from the crowd? The answer? Stop talking about sustainability.
Focus on regeneration instead
That’s right. Corporate sustainability is so 2020. Of course it’s a crucial part of saving the planet, however the concept doesn’t push us far enough in the right direction. The same Wunderman Thompson study showed that 83% of people want businesses to be focused on having a positive impact, rather than just doing less harm to the planet and people.
Regeneration takes sustainability to a whole new level. It’s all about the positive steps businesses and people can take to restore the natural world. The current paradigm of sustainability work is focused on footprints, carbon neutrality, and a ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mentality is misguided. Businesses need to do more than just mitigating their existence. The next generation of eco friendly brands are talking about handprints, planet positivity and regenerating damaged ecosystems.
Take a wide lens approach
When you think of eco friendly brands, most people envision a physical product. Sustainable practices are sometimes overly tied up in the processes and ingredients that create green products. We need to think more broadly, especially as the majority of companies today are not active in the making or moving of things. Don’t feel constrained by your industry. A regeneration mindset can apply to any business, no matter what they do. It empowers service companies to lead the world.
It also encourages businesses to think big and get creative. There’s no limit to the positive impact you can have on the world when talking about regeneration. From planting trees for every email sent, to cleaning 1kg of plastic from the ocean for every 100 website visitors, there are so many innovative ways to do good that strategically align with your business goals. And with the Wunderman Thompson study showing that 75% of people would actively look to buy from green brands that set ambitious regeneration targets, the more ambitious the better. Linking regenerative goals to employee KPIs can also help internal engagement and boost loyalty and motivation. That’s worth a lot.
Integrate and automate your actions
Regeneration is an ongoing process, it’s not about making an investment then stepping back. The impact of your work is only going to grow exponentially, so why not stay involved? Being engaged for the long haul means you can have a huge impact on the projects you’ve selected. It’s a journey, and being transparent about your progress will only help build trust with your customers.
Instead of bundling your sustainability metrics into an annual glossy report that noone will read, think about how you can show your customers the positive impact you are having in real time. We now have the technology to automate the process end to end. In the coming years customers and stakeholders will expect quasi-real time impact reporting in the form of trustworthy data feeds. Handprint’s visualization tools allow you to do just this on your website, your apps and even in your EDMs.
If you’re doing all three, congratulations – you’re well on your way to regenerating the planet. If you’ve got some way to go, don’t worry – you’ve got the right attitude. Find out how Handprint can help you transform your business with a regeneration first mindset.