The gentle art of persuasion
Are sustainable businesses sustainable? We think so, but convincing our clients requires a more subtle conversation.
One of the biggest challenges The Plant faces is persuading our clients that caring about the climate and our society can also be a benefit to their business.
We’ve baked this conversation into our Method of Change, the new process we have for helping clients navigate their way through to more sustainable business and future. The Method starts with a quick workshop.
There’s sometimes a natural scepticism associated with the workshop, about how relevant and helpful it’ll be, about how to start the whole process, and ultimately how it will affect the bottom line.
So, in an effort to gently set the scene, we start with the facts that make a difference.
Here they are…
Governments are legislating on sustainability.
While movement has often been slow, governments across the world are acting significantly on climate and legislating to create real change. Businesses that want to scale and don't comply with the rules can get left behind.
In the UK, Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) was introduced in 2019, as legislation to replace the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Scheme. SECR requires obligated companies to report on their energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions within their financial reporting for Companies House.
Companies also have to report on their carbon risk, with the UK Climate Related Financial Disclosure (CRFD).
In the European Union, the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) - establishes standards for reporting social and environmental topics for all corporations and companies.
Sustainable SMEs often demonstrate greater success.
Seems counter intuitive, we know, but as businesses become more sustainable they often become more successful.
Here are some enlightening statistics from the B Corp movement…
- 15% median average turnover growth of B Corp SMEs, compared to 3% for all SMEs
- 65% of B Corp SMEs who seek equity finance secure the full amount, compared to 56% of all SMEs
- 10% staff attrition rate among B Corp SMEs, compared to 16-20% for all SMEs
Younger generations expect sustainability as standard
This one is probably more obviously believable, but Gen Z and Millennials have much higher expectations of businesses in terms of sustainability, and will gravitate towards those SMEs that can prove their sustainable creds and create real impact.
Here are some quick stats…
- 75% of Gen Z consumers prefer to buy sustainably rather than to go for brand names
- “If brands are not authentic, Gen Z will be the first to raise a red flag” (polling organisation)
- 87% of workers want to work for an organisation whose CEO is actively engaged in tackling societal issues
So, by this stage, heads start to nod and the penny begins to drop - we really can affect some change, have an impact and still run a viable business.
Yes, you really can have it all. (but not without some effort!)