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Can Businesses Afford To Ignore Social + Environmental Responsibilities?
As consumers become increasingly concerned with protecting the environment, safe working conditions, ethical supply chains, environmentally friendly packaging and ethically made products, brand leaders have a responsibility to lead by example and address customers’ concerns regarding the environmental and social impact of providing their products and services.
As a small business owner and entrepreneur I often look to brand leaders to see how they are tackling issues around responsible business. Leading high street brands such as John Lewis have strict contracts with their suppliers to ensure people are treated fairly and paid a living wage, however even John Lewis and Habitat have been in the news over issues with their supply chain, a headline in The Guardian read “John Lewis and Habitat withdraw granite worktops over slavery concerns”.
Whether it’s due to the threat of losing customers to more responsible competitors, legal obligations or stakeholders expecting more in terms of corporate responsibility and transparency, brands big and small now recognise the importance of taking sustainability seriously.
We’re excited and hopeful about the future of responsible business, we have heard so many stories of unethical supply chains in recent years and now these issues have been uncovered consumers are making a difference by encouraging brands to be more transparent and hold their suppliers accountable to expected standards.
Businesses are having to think long and hard about how to be kinder to people and planet, which can lead to so many exciting innovations that have the potential make a positive impact. We want to influence and inspire brands by sharing our favourite brand stories with you and encouraging you to share yours with us.
This might mean shaking things up a bit with forward thinking goal setting and perhaps even organisational change, but that’s okay, it’s progress in the right direction.
As Frederic Cumenal Former CEO of Tiffany’s said, “When a business faces headwinds, it’s natural to take a critical look at the cost structure. At some companies, CSR initiatives are the first things to be cut during a challenging financial time. But at Tiffany we don’t see sustainability as a cost. We see it as a way of doing business and as a competitive advantage – one that we don’t ever intend to change.” From the Harvard Business Review article ‘Tiffany’s CEO on Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain’, by Frederic Cumenal.
Business sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility have come a long way in recent years, but there’s still a long way to go!
Creative Solutions – Tackling Social + Environmental Challenges
We love it when brands get creative with their designs and solutions to tackle environmental and social challenges. We are inspired daily by the positive impact that business can have and the opportunities presented by these challenges, we want to be part of the change.
It’s concerning to see how much of an issue plastic has become, with it filling our oceans and landfill sites and now new evidence has come out with regards to micro plastics appearing in tap water. We are yet to know what effect this will have on our health but it’s safe to say anything we can do to reduce plastic usage has got to be a good thing.
Futuristic inventions and new product developments to clean the oceans and reuse and recycle more make us optimistic that the plastic problem can improve, but it will take a lot of thought and collective action. If enough people get involved we can push forwards and strive for more thoughtful business models.
There are so many exciting possibilities and so many opportunities, it can feel hard to keep up with everything that’s happening. Here are some of our favourite brands, leading the way to a more sustainable future that we all want to play a part in creating.
Good Business – Be The Change
These businesses are giving something back and inspiring others to be more environmentally conscious:
Winnow Solutions are cutting food waste.
Selfridges project ocean to reduce plastic pollution.
Pavegen kinetic energy at events.
Vegware eco-friendly packaging.
Brite Green provide help with sustainable business strategy.
Tiffany on sustainable supply chains.
Apple solar powered HQ.
Nike turning pollution into a solution, using recycled waste and turning it into the next generation of products.
We want to learn by example, spread the word about businesses who are making an effort to improve – businesses that you might want to work with, use as suppliers or follow in their footsteps towards making a real difference and contributing to growing successful sustainable businesses all over the world.
We’d love to hear about brands you love that are making waves!
I hope you enjoyed this post.
Thanks for reading
Bough to Beauty Bespoke
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Being a green business will help the environment and could improve your company’s chances of success. Sustainable business is about meeting three key requirements; being environmentally friendly, considerate towards society (especially those affected by your business), and profitable so the business can survive, thrive and act responsibly whilst making a positive impact.
It isn’t about writing a policy and filing it away to gather dust, it’s about taking action. A sustainable business should have these values ingrained in their business strategy and daily decision making. Do you run a sustainable business?
At Bough to Beauty Bespoke, we want to help you by sharing innovative solutions that tackle environmental challenges facing businesses today. We’ve lined up some inspiring interviews with successful sustainable businesses that are making a positive impact.
We’ll be sharing these inspirational stories on our blog, along with simple steps to make your business more sustainable and more successful.
If you’d like to hear more sign up to our newsletter today and stay tuned!
Until next time!
*If you’d like to share tips on how you reduce waste and create a positive impact in your business we’d love to hear from you.