Green profits

Contributed by The Ashkin Group

A recent study, Sustainable Signals: Understanding Corporate Sustainability Priorities and Challenges by the Morgan Stanley Institute, finds that overwhelmingly, companies view sustainability as a profit generator and a way to lower the cost of capital.
With the global participation of more than three hundred public and private companies from the U.S., Europe, and Asia, the findings reveal a strong consensus among key decision-makers that sustainability is not only a profit generator but essential to their company's long-term value-creation efforts.
According to Jessica Alsford, chief sustainability officer at Morgan Stanley, the convergence of sustainability strategies and core business strategies is becoming increasingly apparent. "Companies are now seeing sustainability factors as integral to a company's long-term value creation."
More specifically, why companies view pursuing sustainability as necessary, the respondents answered:
• 50 percent viewed it as a value-creation opportunity.
• 48 percent said it helps them comply with government regulations.
• 47 percent view it as doing the right thing for people and the planet.
• 45 percent said their customers expect them to be sustainability-focused in their business operations.
However, the study also pointed out that some companies believe adopting sustainability practices could be challenging.
Among their reasons were the following:
Costs. Three-quarters believe the required investment and access to capital to adopt sustainability practices could be very high.
Lack of Leadership. More than 30 percent believed their companies lacked the corporate leadership to make it happen.
Training. Twenty percent indicated it would require training employees in new skills.  

"While costs and financing can be a concern, increasingly, companies view sustainability as an investment in their business operations and not a cost," says Steve Ashkin, CEO of The Ashkin Group and an internationally respected sustainability advocate.
"Further, often these 'costs' are less than expected…and when compared to the potential value creation of sustainability, those costs drop even further."

Ashkin adds that he hopes this study "will inspire and motivate more organizations, including those in the jan/san industry, to view sustainability as an investment and implement sustainability strategies into their business operations."