You’ve probably noticed an increasing number of businesses pledging to go “net zero” in recent years. According to research, at least one-fifth of the largest public companies in the world have promised to meet net zero targets soon, with a view to mitigating their impact on the planet.
So, what can small-to-medium-sized companies learn from this trend? And how can you harness the powers of net zero to appeal to your customers and partners? We’ve put together a need-to-know sustainability guide to help you adapt to a changing corporate environment.
First things first: What does net zero mean?
There are plenty of buzzwords around sustainability, and it’s good to be clear about what they all mean. Net zero represents a strategy in which the greenhouse gases your organisation emits through its various operations are balanced out by actions that remove harmful gases from the atmosphere. The purpose behind net zero is to keep global emissions down and mitigate the worst impacts of global warming.
It is worth noting that there are various alternatives to net zero, such as climate neutral, carbon-neutral, and carbon negative, the most ambitious type of pledge. The commitment you make will depend on your sector and your willingness to make significant changes to your company’s operations and culture.
How will going net zero benefit your business?
As well as helping to assuage any guilt about your impact on the planet, adopting a net zero policy could help you to attract more customers and partners in the following ways:
1. It will improve your brand image
Reducing your carbon footprint (and shouting about it via your marketing channels) will boost your brand image and encourage customers to spend their hard-earned cash on your goods and services. According to recent stats, 92% of consumers are more likely to trust environmentally conscious brands, while 66% of people around the world are happy to pay more for sustainable items.
As the climate crisis accelerates, consumers want to ensure they make responsible decisions that reduce the burden on their children and grandchildren. Whether you run a B2B or a B2C organisation, your eco-credentials are likely to become ever more important to customers, influencing their spending decisions.
2. Net zero companies are likely to weather market volatility
We’re sure you’ve heard about the soaring cost of gas in recent months, with prices significantly higher than a year ago. Spikes in the market – exacerbated by Russia’s war with Ukraine – mean many businesses have had to increase the cost of their goods and services to cope with soaring operational costs. The world is highly unpredictable, and non-renewable energy prices will probably continue to fluctuate in line with an increasingly unstable political environment.
So, what does this mean for investors and potential partners? Well, companies boasting strong green strategies are looking less risky and more attractive than those reliant on fossil fuels. With the cost of solar power at an all-time low, the future of the energy market looks green. As such, businesses that are well-prepared for the transition to green energy will attract more investment and interest from partner organisations in upcoming years. It’s time to get on board!
3. Net zero companies attract and retain employees
More and more workers are looking to align themselves with ecologically-conscious companies. Young people are particularly keen to gain employment in green organisations, with almost 40% of millennials willing to take a substantial pay cut to work for a company with a strong environmental agenda.
As younger generations enter the workforce, this trend will only intensify, and eco-conscious companies will more easily retain employees than their gas-guzzling counterparts. In the long term, SMEs that hold on to dedicated and hardworking employees will enjoy greater productivity, increased growth, and better engagement with customers and partners. It’s a win-win!
Consider going green today
Clearly, there are many benefits to adopting net zero targets and pushing your company to reduce its carbon footprint. While changing your operational logistics may be difficult at first, it will pay off in the long term by attracting new customers, investors, and partners. The future is green, so it’s worth getting ahead of the game and securing your long-term success.