Sustainability challenges businesses in 2023

Article posted

9th Jan 2023

Read time

4-8 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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As we go into 2023, sustainability is going to be an important part of many people's business plans this year. But before your company throws itself into sustainable practices and campaigns you should know the challenges that could come with this. This will help you plan efficient and cost-effective solutions.

Customer expectations

It's an undeniable fact that as the cost-of-living spirals ever higher, people must focus on getting the best value for their money. However, customers in the modern age are not simply talking when it comes to supporting companies with good corporate social responsibility; they take real action by looking for sustainability-friendly products, pushing up demand.

Companies should recognize this trend and balance it against the need to remain competitive while continuing to offer sustainable options and keeping prices low. This can range from focusing on improving their own internal processes to reduce waste and carbon emissions or investigating supply chain alternatives that utilize more eco-friendly materials or practices. Ultimately, consumers are increasingly looking for more sustainable options that won't break their budgets, and businesses that can find ways to meet both needs will come out on top.



Managing Inflation

With the global events that took place in 2022, money became increasingly tight across the board. One of the most drastic results of this was inflation causing businesses to need to look for cheaper supplies.

It's understandable why many companies turn towards these cost-friendly options as they struggle to keep their business afloat, but there is a more sustainable approach that might be beneficial - shopping locally. Not only will this eliminate high transport emissions from your business, but it could also reduce production costs due to not having to pay shipping fees associated with further distances.

What’s more, with the right research you could even find more environmentally friendly materials and products locally, endowing your company with a much sought after competitive edge. Shopping locally may be just what businesses need a better manage today’s manufacturing landscape.



Greenwashing and Greenhushing

It can be tempting for online companies wanting to launch a green campaign, to overstate their environmental credentials. This may help them get more attention and gains in the short term, but ultimately it could be damaging to their reputation in the long run. Companies have seen this happen all too frequently, having their environmental claims found not to stack up when under scrutiny. Often times these campaigns are wrapped around an emotional message that is aimed at deeply influencing customers.

It is understandable why companies would want to do this, but there needs to be a way that is done ethically. Companies should focus on making sure their environmental credentials are genuine and honest so that they can keep the trust of their customers and colleagues intact.

The damage to other businesses' reputations due to greenwashing has caused another issue called "greenhushing". This is where businesses fear greenwashing accusations so they avoid the conversation of sustainability altogether.

However, doing this is going to give your customers the impression that nothing is being done. Therefore you should try to stay transparent with your audience about sustainability and efficiency plans and outcomes.



Carbon offsetting

In the modern business world, customers are increasingly savvy and educated about environmental sustainability. As a result, they have taken note of companies that employ carbon offsetting instead of actual plans to become more sustainable - in other words, businesses cutting corners rather than making actual changes.

This misleading tactic has been met with outrage and criticism from customers who realize their trust is being toyed with. Consequently, it's likely that we will see a huge backlash against companies that attempt to use carbon offsetting as a substitute for genuine change in the future. Companies that take shortcuts should expect serious ramifications with their potential customer base.

Carbon offsetting is a good way for businesses to account for the carbon emissions that they cannot reduce with other factors. However, carbon offsetting should not be the only way businesses are managing emissions that they are responsible for.



Being transparent with your customers and stakeholders

In the current climate, businesses need to be both proactive and transparent about their sustainability practices. Not only will this enable you to meet the targets of upcoming regulations such as those from the EU, but it also encourages customers and stakeholders alike to have faith in your organisation.

By conveying an attitude of transparency and trustworthiness, you are likely to improve the reputation of your business for both existing and potential partners. Furthermore, this can result in more efficient decisions that may ultimately increase the profits of your company. So don't hesitate to take steps today to ensure that your organisation is operating with full transparency!


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