Sustainability is an integral part of becoming a high-performance business. With the known implications of global climate change, companies are moving toward a low-carbon economy to meet the requirements of consumers and policy makers. This includes improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions, and cutting down on water and waste consumption. Accenture has recommended a short list of principles and guidelines to help chemical companies manage the short-term challenges and help companies succeed in the long-run. These 4 principles are:
1. Go Where the Money is Companies should invest in areas that will increase their market share and attract investors. This means investing in green and eco-friendly products and operations. Not only do these operations reduce costs and help the environment, but there is an actual market for them. According to two Accenture surveys, consumers continue to prefer “sustainable” products over other products.
2. Align cost reduction with sustainability action To decrease costs and increase their attractiveness in the market companies should implement initiatives that reduce environmental impacts and operational costs. By aligning sustainability with cost reduction companies increase customer satisfaction, decrease their carbon footprint, and increase margins.
3. Building intangible assets The formula is easy: more intangible assets equals a higher market value. Many companies are using sustainability to build close relationships with key stakeholders and competitors to become more attractive in the market. By building these relationships companies are increasing the transparency of their sustainability actions and their impact. This helps companies influence the direction of public debate and helps them prepare for new environmental regulations.
4. Win the loyalty of consumers and employees To win the loyalty of consumers companies should remember all good things come at a price. To make your product attractive it should be both environmentally friendly and affordable for the customer. In regards to employees, many companies are seeing trends of sustainable strategies playing a critical role in attracting and retaining top talent. Engaging employees in sustainable movements and plans helps increase attract potential employees and increases the loyalty of current employees.
These principles, outlined by Accenture, offer a valid point of reference for sustainable actions. In the chemicals industry sustainability can play an important role in market image. In the public eye chemical companies are wasteful and environmentally harmful. By displaying successful sustainable efforts, companies can positively position themselves and turn sustainability efforts into profitability.
To read the full study by Accenture visit: http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/d081ca74-2f2e-2f10-dbac-cdc1df8d4dea?QuickLink=index&overridelayout=true&53575422051513
Use the comment space below to reflect on the following questions:
Have company sustainability efforts affected your employment decisions? How has sustainability impacted the chemical industry and do you see sustainability impacting chemical companies in the future?