There has been a lot of recent discussion around the business value of environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, and the degree to which it relates to financial performance and other measures of business value. When it comes to focusing on the “environmental” aspect of ESG—often referred to as “sustainability”—there are many ways this area can open up business opportunities.
For example, looking at the IBM Sustainability Software portfolio, you’ll notice that many of these solutions will deliver ROI to your business while also having positive environmental impact. Just take a look at Maximo Application Suite: at its core, the suite enables intelligent management of your assets—whether that’s your real estate, escalators or a bridge. In all these cases, by making assets perform more efficiently, the business saves money while cutting back on emissions and resources. There’s the double benefit of cost-efficiency and sustainability.
This doesn’t just relate to big business. On the first episode of the Impact-Up podcast, we talk to startup BAE Boats which offers short-term hire electric vehicles for special events. The benefits of these boats over traditional combustion engine boats are in the customer experience: there is no engine noise or gas smell.
In fact, even though sustainability is at the core of the business, BAE Boats advertises the experience over the environmental aspect of the service, and has grown the business even during the tough pandemic period.
What are the key takeaways from this? Looking across all aspects of your business operations (including customer touch points) can lead to benefits for your business, including reduced costs, differentiation of your products and services, and even new market opportunities, all while driving greater environmental outcomes. While this can sometimes require upfront investment, it is worth considering this cost against total lifetime gains, and other material benefits such as improved brand reputation. This is one of the key trends that we have recently covered in our Seven Sustainability Trends report: “Align business objectives with improved environmental outcomes.”
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