Sustainability seems to be the only game in town.

Regardless of our own thoughts on the subject, our customers increasingly want to deal with suppliers who share their views and who act in ways which make them feel comfortable.

As a business owner, particularly in times when just opening the doors is hard enough, it’s easy to overlook the impact of changing community expectations, and what it means in terms of sales and profitability.

20 years ago, sustainability meant caring for the environment. The word was interchangeable with “green”.

Fast forward to today, and it’s not just about green. It means much more.

Our customers now talk about sustainable and ethical business practices. They talk about mental health, supply chains, carbon abatement and many more concerns. They talk about sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; affordable and clean energy; and they talk about gender and other equality and ethical concerns.

Customers have expectations. They want business they deal with to not only respond, but to demonstrate their commitment. Even your long-term customers will shift loyalties when their convictions are tested.

In light of that, can you afford not to give them every reason to trust you with their continued business?

For the most part, the short answer is no. And the long answer is also “no”.

Many businesses are already doing many of the right things. Most lack a formal system or structure to clearly illustrate their good work and their commitment to constant improvement. And without that structure, it is difficult to convince a sceptical public.

Some businesses have gone their own way and have developed believable systems. Some simply rely on a general “feelgood” statement. Others choose to make it up as they go along. Unfortunately, this all adds to the mixed messages in the marketplace and results in the need to continually find ways to convince your buyers.

The good news? There is a low-cost, high return pathway. And it’s credible.

And even better news is that this pathway is scalable and suitable for businesses of every size, be it start-up or an established operation. There’s even a place for those who are already certified ISO14001.

Accross | Sustainable Ethical Services manages the Sustainable Green Print program (SGP) in the Print, Packaging and Signage sector, and is working with Sustainable Ethical Australia to develop a similar program for the wider manufacturing sector.


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