Sustainability | Can It Benefit The Bottom Line?



As businesses shift to sustainable business practices, they are increasingly finding sustainability is not only altruistic, but leads the way in cutting wasteful spending and adopting practices that save the businesses money over time. Sustainability doesn’t just complement business, it informs it. It leads to smarter spending and working practices, as business as usual is being reinvented. 

Sustainability is a word that we hear quite a bit these days, especially in the corporate world as more companies incorporate sustainability practices into their businesses. But, as businesses struggle to find the balance between sustainability and profit, more and more are finding that in a changing world, sustainability leads to wise choices that influence the bottom-line in a positive way.

By reevaluating energy uses, redefining how we work, engaging in a more collaborative work space, incorporating telecommuting, Companies can actually reduce spending. Incorporating sustainability into the work place causes management to take inventory and reassess where their money goes and start to think — is there a better way? With practices like telecommuting reducing the carbon footprint and saving on water and power consumption, as well as helping employees find a work life balance, work and spending is redefined.


Every business is different and business owners have to decide the sustainability practices that are most effective for their business and bottom line. Ultimately sustainability is about stability. When you think about it that way – sustainable stability – it’s about being smart and recognizing all the ways your company can work more efficiently through wise choices, allowing excess can be cut and people to facilitate one another’s needs more efficiently to insure the future of your business and the world at large.

Sustainability is a blend of the ethical responsibility and the bottom line. Each supports the other. So, it’s in everyone’s best interest. Though sustainability may be initiated through management, it’s through employees that it will find its success. Since they incorporate it into their daily lives and practices and can be instrumental in discussing and maintaining how these practices are implemented.


Creativity can go a long way to making sustainability work for your business. Problem solving can be fun and interactive, however challenging it may first appear. Many companies have adopted a Green Team comprised of employees who help establish and implement environmental goals, while involving their peers, creating a positive environment and practices that become integrated into the corporate culture. While at first, green practices may seem cumbersome and encounter some resistance; these employees can invigorate and motivate their peers. No one starts at the finish line; the important thing is to start the process toward long term goals. It’s up to each business to establish its own pathway.

Photo by Knoll 

Photo by DIRTT


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Sustainability Has A Direct Effect On Your Employees

It turns out that the benefits for companies that embrace sustainability go beyond energy efficiency, risk mitigation, opportunity for innovation and corporate social responsibility. Sustainability has a direct effect on your employees.

According to Ante Glavas, Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, “People who work for green companies have a pride-in-ownership mentality and are happier and more productive.”



1. Link Sustainability to Employee Engagement
Higher productivity is certainly a no-brainer for any CEO, no matter what the industry. Based on its own findings, Gallup calls employee engagement “a leading indicator of financial performance.” The same research demonstrated that engaged organizations have 3.9 times the earnings per share growth rate compared to organizations with lower engagement in the same industry.”

Furthermore, pride-in-ownership is not simply about smiling employees showing up for work every day; more critical to the bottom line, pride-in-ownership could lead to greater employee retention, resulting in cost savings from lower turnover.

2. Show Your Commitment to Nourish Both Health & Planet

Food tops the agenda for many people concerned with our environment, health, and communities. This is where concern about the rising obesity epidemic in the U.S. comes together with the global recognition that the food we grow consumes 70 percent of the planet’s available fresh water, affects more than half its habitable land and influences the livelihood of about a billion people. Food served on site, at meetings, and in a company’s products is a highly visible opportunity that every organization has to show they care about health and the environment. Food also provides an opportunity to engage the workforce in whatever sustainability issues matter to you – climate change, waste, water supply, healthy living, etc. Companies that do this best have a multi-dimensional approach.

3. Go Beyond Your Boundaries to Address What Matters Most

Often our greatest impacts lie outside the boundaries of our own businesses. Sustainability requires collaboration within our own organizations and throughout the supply chain. Just look at the way companies are now accounting for climate impacts. Traditionally, companies have measured emissions from their own energy production and purchase. However, the world has recognized a growing need for a more complete picture. This has never been more important, given the recently released numbers by the Global Carbon Project, which shows that 2010 brought the biggest jump on record for global carbon emissions – an increase of 5.9 percent according to coverage by the New York.

Sustainability contains opportunities to motivate employees, reach new customers, innovate business models, improve financial bottom lines, and feel good about the contribution to improving the world.