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Eco-sustainable business: 8 ways to grow

If the company is sustainable, the future is stable. But does being eco-sustainable pay? Are the environment and sustainability just branding, or are they a new way of doing business and innovating? Why does a web company like Linkedin install apiaries on the balcony of an office? Why is an automotive company like Renault so attentive to employee well-being? When did a bank become interested in the quality of its customers' food? We see advertising companies committed to the well-being of their customers and the planet. We would expect it from a public administration; naturally, it happens. Wasn't profit their only interest? Wasn't it the job of the state and nonprofits to take care of the welfare of citizens?

Can all this be related to Greta Thunberg's Friday for Future and with the results of the green movements in the recent European elections? Can environmental sustainability 

Become an element of success for businesses?

Marketing not hustlers

But what do bees have to do with doing business? Linkedin installs two apiaries on the balcony of a venue's bar. Officially the reasons are:

- Give a message of sustainability to employees,

- Produce a few kgs of honey to be distributed internally,

- Pollinate the fruit trees of the park.

Why does a company like Linkedin invest a few hundred euros in looking like an eco-sustainable company? Why highlight a gesture that only one employee could have made? Why does a multinational invest in a balcony in a bar? Why not invest seriously by financing some NGO projects?

The answers must be sought in the micro-branding strategies and in the local tangibility of the actions. Strategies like these offer enormous benefits to companies that invest in environmental sustainability. Let's mention just a few:

1. Direct and continuous impact on the image

2. Change of mental frames

3. Concrete, visible and tangible impact

4. Social currency production

5. And exclusivity

6. Opportunity to viral the activity at zero cost on social networks

7. Production of content by employees

8. Growth of trust towards the brand

9. Use of very strong emotional levers

I could go on for hours. Let's quickly analyze these points and understand why it is useful to communicate how a company is sustainable.

About the first three points, Linkedin creates something visible and tangible. Nobody can deny the commitment by associating the image of sustainability with the company and linking it to direct experience. It is no coincidence that bees are used, an important social and environmental image. Connect this image to very powerful frames such as collaboration, familiarity, goodness, beauty, industriousness, and safeguarding nature.

Let's move on. Think about it: do you visit an apiary on a company's balcony and don't talk about its sustainability at the bar? It is called social currency: we like to talk about what amazes us and others. We do it for free and for a long time, months or years sometimes. 

Again: how many sustainable companies have you visited with an apiary on the balcony? Would you call them exclusive?

Well, those above are two of the most powerful elements that make a piece of viral news: social currency and exclusivity. If the news is viral, we all talk about it, and the company produces sustainable content for free. All this reinforces the sustainable image of the company by increasing trust with emotions. In addition to these examples, Linkedin actually uses all the typical elements of virality. In this way, it transforms a few hundred euros a simple project into a powerful communication element.

How to become an eco-sustainable company?

Well, we come to us. Can we build an image of an eco-sustainable company and strengthen our brand? Does all this pay in economic terms?

Let's start from the tail. Simplistic answer: if the older ones do it, it means to pay!

Millions of people are interested in the future of our planet. These people are willing to change their behaviors to be more sustainable. This audience of people willing to make small sacrifices to have a return in the future is constantly growing. These people are looking for sustainable businesses to use and work, buy and spend money with.

Now the signs are many and increasingly important. Not taking advantage of this opportunity is commercially stupid. Not being sustainable, for a company, is an element of fault that sooner or later will fall on turnover. But to become an eco-sustainable company, it is not enough to actually put an apiary on the balcony. That's just an example. Most of all, projects that are credible and commensurate with the real impact that is produced or that people perceive are needed.

The eight proposals to improve your company's sustainable brand Social Strategies collaborate with companies of high environmental value to offer you adequate solutions. Do not invest your money in the usual planting in the southern countries of the world. Leave alone projects of doubtful value. Act locally, 

Concretely, and create sustainable value with a high degree of concreteness.

You can build projects in these fields:

- Sustainable planning of your investments with green procurement and environmental compensation

- Realization of concrete projects in schools, parks or in places of your interest

- Construction of complex projects with public administrations

- Collaboration with universities to develop or support research projects

- Corporate welfare or proximity welfare projects

- Installation of sustainable systems at your premises or in public facilities ( charging stations, RES systems)

- Organization or participation in sustainable events

- Construction of specific marketing strategies for communication and involvement and participatory planning

The concrete activities are endless and are designed with you and your needs. We do not present ready-made packages for an eco-sustainable company. We build with you the eco-sustainable business project to increase turnover.

Green Procurement - Eco-sustainable Procurement Company

A first and simple step is the selection of suppliers. With careful analysis, you can choose the most sensitive and sustainable suppliers. Green procurement is not trivially, replacing suppliers with other certificates. This can immediately cause damage to the company, and it is not said that it will bring benefits in the future. A correct green procurement strategy involves at least these steps:

- Identify a criterion for selecting the most sustainable companies, thinking of end customers.

- Communicate the criteria to suppliers (and customers) asking to respond to position themselves about your needs

- Building a cost/benefit scale

- Building a training path towards strategic and unsustainable suppliers

- Building growth synergies and co-branding for mutual commercial advantage

- Refine the initial criteria and start the cycle again

This cycle is only a general example, and the modalities must be built on the client.

Green design - Becoming sustainable by doing business in the area

Investing in your area is a very important and popular way to be sustainable. High-value investments are not always necessary. Planting a tree in a park every year costs very little, but leaves a mark for decades. But let's leave the planting of trees alone, please. Or rather if we want to plant trees, let's do it with particular intelligence, locally and where it is needed.

Making a company visible for its sustainability requires knowledge of the area. You need to know the area in which you operate, the communities that live there, and their problems. This is the only real way to make a good investment and get important results. Especially if yours is a local business, implementing local projects pays off immediately.

That's why before we said if you really have to plant it with intelligence. It is important to find out what is around us and what our customers experience as a shortage or need. It is there that we must intervene with sustainable solutions or that improve sustainability. Obviously, this type of project is always better to carry out in collaboration with public administrations. If a company manages to promote a varied territorial network that proposes and implements sustainable projects. In the most important dimensions, these projects may involve universities and startups.

Corporate Welfare - Sustainability for employees

Under the corporate welfare chapter, all those actions for the benefit of employees fall. Today, in addition to corporate welfare, we often speak of territorial welfare. These are actions to substitute the social needs of an area by offering services to citizens.

These solutions are very important because they please employees and citizens. They also guarantee significant savings and are often tax-exempt. In fact, what is provided in corporate welfare is taxed for the company and for the citizen.

This is why we have partnered with local solar communities. We can provide complex corporate welfare services of great value because being an eco-sustainable company also means taking care of employees.

Sustainable plants - A direct advantage for your business

Investing in energy-saving and renewable energy production has clear benefits. You are good for the environment; you are good for your wallet. Always thanks to the Solar Communities, we can offer you a great opportunity. You are buying or selling shares of plants from or to citizens. Yes, you got it right. You can build a system on your shed and share its costs with fellow citizens or your employees—a way to create social relationships, brands and saves on investments.

Sustainable events - The Company must communicate.

Surely your company communicates by organizing small or large events. If it doesn’t, you have a problem. Organizing sustainable events is one way of relating to customers. But even better is to create sustainability communication events. Training or dissemination events that are not self-promotional. These events will be much more useful than the classic events you have always organized. In this way, your company acts as a reference point for local sustainability, certainly not a small goal for your eco-sustainable business brand.

Marketing strategies - Communicating your sustainability

An eco-sustainable company must let everyone know. To be sustainable, a business must also involve customers and suppliers. A company remains a company, and therefore, even when it is sustainableEco-sustainable business, it must have a higher investment return than the costs.

A serious path always includes at least the following points:

- Definition of general objectives

- Analysis of strengths and weaknesses

- Definition of specific objectives

- Analysis of possible actions

- Evaluation of the costs/benefits of the individual actions

- Priority planning

- Identification of KPIs

- Implementation of actions

- Performance analysis

- Remodeling of the strategy

Author: Vicki Lezama

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