Of People, Planet & Profit

In the wake of the pandemic, while organisations are keeping employee well-being at the centre, their proactive steps towards the environment are lending a hand in a big way

Do good by doing good.

There is a wave of brands jumping on the proverbial eco-friendly bandwagon across industries. The media has certainly been a catalyst in cognizing everyone about the challenges that the environment is facing, which may be alarming for the human race in the future. In fact, as per the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report, four out of the top five risks in ‘Terms of Likelihood’ for the year 2021 are environmental risks.

Undeniably, a plethora of brands have stepped forward and invested heavily in environmental stewardship. Their work models have ensured sustainable actions, as well as eliminated their eco-footprint to a large extent.

Consumers on the other hand are more informed than ever too, owing to the social media platforms and watchdog groups that empower them in an unimaginable way. The consumer demand is thus, directly shaping the social impact of business. It has become critical that mission-driven brands are authentic in how they portray the environmental impact they have on communities.

Current Times Call For Greater Consciousness

Experts believe that eco-friendly business practices are the most promising way to propel a brand forward. Giving credence to the GlobalWebIndex, nearly 61% of consumers prefer switching to a brand that is more environmentally friendly than their current brand. An equally impressive 2 in 3 consumers think brands that make a public promise to be sustainable are more trustworthy. 

Hence, it becomes extremely vital for brand managers to demonstrate inspiring ideologies and initiatives that cement themselves are gatekeepers of environment safety, especially during this crisis time. The pandemic era combined with climate change has emphasized the urgent need for organisations to invest in the ecosystem before it’s too late.

“There has never been a more important time to collectively become aware of how we as individuals, corporations and businesses are affecting the planet. Further, with these unprecedented times when both climate change and COVID-19 call for integrated action on a war footing, the world needs to prepare for a dynamic shift towards an environment-conscious approach,” believes Anuj Jain, Executive Director, Kansai Nerolac Paints.

Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and Co-founder, TheSmallBigIdea emphasizes that businesses are one of the largest contributors to climate change. “From dumping waste in a hazardous manner to the use of single use plastic for packaging, companies have done a world of damage to the environment. These times call for drastic measures, even if it means thinning of margins,” he says.

Brands Contribute In Unique Ways

We are at a cusp as a planet, where every decision taken by individuals or entities decides whether the Earth will be habitable for the next generation. To this view, brands are making sure to not ignore the obvious signs, working together to reverse the effect of years of bad decisions and securing a safe environment for the future generation.

“Brands are investing in R&D in areas like bio-degradable packaging and energy-efficient production. We have to look way beyond mere ceremonies like switching light off for an hour. The changes need to be immediate, all-pervasive and most importantly sustainable over a long period of time,” suggests Pillai. 

Vijay Joshi, CEO, Symphony agrees that there is a growing consciousness to become an environmentally responsible brand and ensure minimum negative impact. “As a company, in order to reduce our environmental footprint and improve energy management, we look at conserving, and innovating energy-efficient product design. One of the biggest advantages of air coolers is their impact on the carbon footprint. Air cooling is remarkably eco-friendly and saves a significant amount of energy,” he mentions. 

Very recently, National Geographic also rolled out its Planet Possible initiative, encouraging people to live more sustainably by adopting small changes in their daily lives. The purpose is to motivate all planet lovers to rekindle their relationship with the world and environment we live in. Each of them focuses on informing people about the difference an individual can make if he or she adopts these changes now and control their actions to restore the planet.

Blue Dart has also gone green this environment day with paperless transactions on its new digital portal for all its vendor partners. Going paperless will help conserve energy, reduce CO2 emissions, avoid deforestation, protect the natural habitat and strengthen forest-based livelihood opportunities for the surrounding communities. Through this initiative, Blue Dart will not only protect the environment but also commits to planting a significant number of trees every year. 

Luminous Technologies' latest campaign, #ShuruvaatEkNayiDuniyaKi, shows us how the smallest of acts can help us reimagine the world and restore it to its original glory. And it all starts with, well, a start. 

Discovery, in partnership with UN India and WWF India, has launched a path-breaking campaign, #StopTheMelt. With Ecosystem Restoration being this year’s UN World Environment Day theme, Discovery India aims to throw light on the ailing state of the planet. 

Environment Sensitivity Breeds Benefits Too

In many cases, companies that are truly eco-conscious earn a positive reputation, gain a loyal following from their customers and often receive positive media attention for their efforts. More and more companies are embracing environmental responsibility as they see the benefits realized by other industries, but the transition is still slow.

“Environment-friendly methods can set a business apart from competitors and attract new customers. Encouraging an environment-friendly approach shows that businesses care about more than the bottom line and this will undeniably impress potential clients and customers. It also garners positive attention from governing bodies as well as investors. Reducing the environmental impact of the business also improves its sustainability. Optimizing a company’s processes will save on resources, reduce costs and boost the company’s overall productivity,” asserts Jain.

Pillai admits that environment-conscious brands get preference from high-value customers, which eventually doesn’t seem like a bad business move at all.

Joshi also agrees that environment-friendly brands can influence and change consumer mindsets and perspectives in a positive way. “Today’s generation, popularly known as Generation Green is extremely environment conscious and prefers choosing brands that have similar ethos. Further, this segment doesn’t even mind paying a little extra as long as they know that they are supporting the environment by making the right choice of products. This consumer behaviour is encouraging for the brands to develop eco-friendly products and opt for sustainable practices,” he points. 

The Planet-first approach opted by companies and individuals, by recycling at home, buying products made from recycled materials, minimizing one’s carbon footprint, growing plants, avoiding waste, using energy-efficient, consuming local produce, etc. are small ways that go a long way in helping the environment. Commitment to environmentally friendly ways of living is easy to cultivate in young minds and make them aware to become conscious adults for the greener future, suggest experts.