There’s no doubt that the on-going COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the way society operates. From a rise in online shopping to a work-home-revolution, there are many aspects of life which are unlikely to return to the status quo in a post-COVID environment.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has also altered the way society thinks about the environment. While environmental issues such as climate change were becoming more mainstream prior to the pandemic, statistics show that consumers now have a heightened awareness of the environment. What’s more – 36% of consumers questioned are already buying from companies with ‘strong environmental credentials’, while a whopping 80% plan to engage with businesses they know are making an effort to be environmentally friendly.
Businesses Under More Pressure to Protect the Environment
Prior to the pandemic, businesses were already under pressure to reduce their carbon footprints and limit their impact on the environment. In the UK, the 2050 net-zero pledge meant that companies and industries were required to adjust their operations in order to meet government guidelines. With the threat of expensive fines looming, embracing more sustainable practices made good business sense.
However, with consumers placing extra importance on environmental credentials, businesses will need to go a step further. In addition to keeping their carbon footprints below recommended guidelines, companies will need to look for ways to impress consumers with their green policies.
Can Sustainability Be Economical?
Many people assume that operating in a more sustainable way will be costly. Companies fall into the trap of thinking that being green equates to less profit, hence their reluctance to embrace eco-friendly practices until now. However, there’s no reason why becoming more sustainable equates to an increase in operating costs. In fact, many businesses could reduce their expenditure by incorporating green policies into their decision-making.
Finding budget-friendly renewable water business rates and renewable energy tariffs is a simple and hassle-free way to significantly reduce carbon emissions, for example. Similarly, reducing water consumption via low-flow taps and facilities has a major impact on sustainability with no negative effects on operations.
Businesses may even find that their recent business decisions offer unexpected green benefits. If staff are working from home in accordance with government guidelines, for example, the reduction in commuting means the organisation is operating in a more sustainable way. When you consider the potential financial savings associated with remote working, it’s easy to see how economical sustainability can be.
Maintaining Sustainability in a Post-COVID Environment
As the vaccine rollout continues and we inch closer to the end of the pandemic, few businesses will be able to return to their pre-COVID operations. The extent of the changes and the duration they’ve lasted has irrevocably changed the way society, and consumers, behave. Due to this, it’s likely that businesses will be required to continue being green if they want to retain their share of the market. With financial savings to be made, however, businesses may be more eager than ever to embrace sustainable practices and use them to fuel business growth.