The business case for sustainability
Even if you aren’t convinced your company needs to be seen as a good corporate citizen, there’s a compelling business argument for sustainability.
To start with, it’s clear that customers and investors increasingly prefer to do business with companies that are proactive in their approach to society and the environment.
In the year to March 31, 2007, for example, corporate and government customers asked BT for evidence of its performance in these areas to be included in bids for business worth a total of £1.8 billion. The corresponding figure for the previous year was £1.3 billion.
Research has also shown that customers who believe that BT takes its responsibility to society and the environment seriously are 49 per cent more likely than others to be very or extremely satisfied with the company.
It is also clear that improvements in sustainability can generate big savings. By acting to reduce its impact on the environment, for example, BT achieved savings worth £229.3 million in the year to March 31, 2007. The majority resulted from productivity improvements achieved through increases in home and flexible working and the wider use of conferencing as an alternative to face-to-face meetings.
Independent research conducted for BT found that its home workers are 21 per cent more productive that their office-based colleagues and take less time off as a result of being sick. Other researchers estimated that the time that made available to BT’s people as a result of eliminating journeys to meetings was worth more than £100 million in 2006/7 alone.
Even something as simple as an audit of your IT infrastructure could produce a big savings. BT tries hard to run its business as efficiently as it can, but even so a recent audit of its data centres identified opportunities to decommission or consolidate around 3,000 servers, reducing electricity consumption by 23GWh a year and reducing CO2 emissions by 3,300 tonnes. Along with changes to the design of cooling and power supply systems, this helped BT reduce the energy bill for its data centres by £3.8 million over six months.
While compelling in their own right, these are just some of the more obvious examples of how a sustainable approach adds value to the bottom line. No matter what business you are in, the growing reality is that what’s good for society and the environment is good for your company. It reduces costs, mitigates risks, improves a company’s reputation, motivates employees, drives innovation and generally boosts performance – in short, it offers a wide range of benefits that any business would be foolish to ignore.
Thanks to BT for permission to reproduce this article from the paper “Understanding what matters, CSR and strategic focus”
BT has been recognised as the world's top telecoms company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for the past seven years.
The index assesses 2,500 companies worldwide, looking at corporate governance and ethical practices, investor relations, environmental management and climate change, digital inclusion, community investment, human rights, health and safety, diversity, supply chain and risk management. See their website for more information on sustainability issues. http://www.btplc.com/Societyandenvironment/Socialandenvironmentreport/index.aspx
Submit this story to:
Stumble It! |