Customer Satisfaction & Climate Change
One major motivating factor in employers addressing climate change needs resides in the pressure put upon them by customers. In real terms this translates as profit, should you pay attention to their needs, and loss of profits should you ignore them. Many a multi national company has lost out in recent years due to poor ethical or environmental records. Many others have turned fortunes around by maintaining a good environmental or ethical record.
A number of business start ups have taken off the ground on the basis of their green credentials – especially in the food market, where organic and locally produced food is an ever growing industry. The success of ‘Waitrose’ in sourcing locally produced food for its stores and of ‘Fresh and Wild’ the purely organic supermarket, has put pressure on other supermarket chains to provide at least some ethically and locally produced organic food.
Over the coming years a battle looks set to ensure between supermarkets that offer cheap produce (that some argue is of an inferior quality and produced using ethically and environmentally sound methods) and those that offer more environmentally sound produce at a higher price. Who wins out on this count could set the dietary and environmental habits of a generation and it is the customer who will ultimately make the decision.
Benefiting From an Environmentally Sound PolicyExamples such as that outlined above point to the importance of addressing environmental issues within your company if you wish to maintain (or establish) a competitive presence in your market. On whatever level you operate it is important to show the customer what you are doing to help save the environment.
This works on two levels, as on the one hand it can help to increase profits, but on the other hand a highly vocal outlining of your green policy helps to further advertise the necessity for change, and taking such an approach will again meet the respect of the environmentally concerned customer.
Never worry about seeming to ‘cash in’ on a hot topic – in these times led by consumerism the best way to prevent climate catastrophe may be by altering the way we do business and making good climate policy one of the most sought after commodities available. One way of making explicit your environmental credentials may be to get accreditation from a recognised body – such as the Soil Association or the Energy Saving Trust, meaning that you will be able to display their logo on your product, ensuring that the customer gets what they are after.
That said, any indication that your product is environmentally sound on any number of counts (energy efficiency, local production, organic production, etc.) made in any way has to be factually based, so until you can get accreditation from a recognised body just be sure to label well, and make sure you can back up your claims.
When meeting clients and partners and when making presentations to potential funders be sure also to mark up your environmental policy as it is something they may in turn benefit from as there is increasing pressure on all sectors of industry to help the environment in any way possible. Working with an environmentally sound company may help to earn a client partner or funder the positive climate change credentials that they are seeking. It may also be a direct part of their policy to in any case work with the most ethically and environmentally sound companies and if it isn’t a mention of your policy will at least be an advertisement for doing so in the future.
The main thing to remember is that having an environmentally sound policy will save you money, help drive the need for change by influencing politics via the market and will make customers happy, therefore making you money. Remember also that those concerned with the environment love to share tips on where to buy the best products - so word of mouth will do a lot of work for you once you have got the right product.