Whilst the importance of CSR cannot be underestimated, it can still be a divisive issue within companies. It can lead to a battle between profit and purpose, where companies look to drive growth and profits whilst also protecting the environment.
As you can imagine, this creates tension between divisions as most are under real pressure to drive top-line revenues and bottom-line profits. What this has done is make a company’s CSR plan a feared document, one which has the potential to stand in the way of a team moving towards making the most money it possibly can.
The extent to which companies believe that sustainability will erode their competitiveness remains a real worry. Not only is there literature suggesting that sustainability-led innovation works, there’s concrete example to show it too. Choosing a path of sustainability drives down input costs, making it easier for companies to improve upon their existing products, or even start new strands to their business.
It’s due to this that many companies are treating environmentally friendly initiatives as a central piece to their innovation efforts. The companies which make sustainability their focus will make a huge impression on the marketplace and probably change their industry’s landscape. The Harvard Business Review predicts that in times of economic uncertainty, the most sustainable will emerge as the most successful. Not only will they be more profitable, it’ll be really difficult for competitors who didn’t champion sustainability to climb up and continue to be profitable.
For the companies that want to continue to be competitive, sustainability will be central. Not just a way of maintaining a good image, sustainability drives down costs and increases innovation.