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Sustainability and Profitability: Why They Must Go Hand in Hand

paul pon raj

The question of whether companies can prioritize both sustainability and profitability is one that is frequently asked by customers, peers in the energy industry, and other tech leaders. The answer is clear: sustainability is intrinsically connected to profitability. In order for a company to survive, it must invest in sustainability.

Decarbonization investments are not only a business imperative but also business opportunities. Sustainable technologies, such as digital software that tracks energy use and electrification, are designed to make a company run more efficiently, resulting in lower operating expenses.

A prime example of this is leading real estate service provider JLL, which reduced energy use by 30% by connecting its building’s power, controls, indoor air quality monitors, and other efficiency tools under a single system.

In addition to saving money on the operational front, sustainability also builds business loyalty. A company that operates a net-zero building or invests in a microgrid will garner positive attention from stakeholders through increased investments, higher sales, and committed employees.

Tackling global challenges such as climate change, energy reliability, and supply chain hurdles through systemic sustainability is one of the most effective ways for companies to overcome these issues.

When deployed on a large scale, sustainability technologies help curb carbon emissions, reduce energy consumption, enhance energy reliability, and improve supply chain sustainability.

paul pon raj

A key component of systemic sustainability is sustainable material sourcing. A survey of over 350 companies found that 63% of buyers and 73% of suppliers believed sustainable procurement helped them endure the pandemic.

Creating sustainable ecosystems is also vital in the connection between profits and decarbonization. Supply chain emissions are 12 times larger than operational emissions, meaning no one company can decarbonize alone.

Companies like Walmart, through Project Gigaton™, engage with suppliers to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across their global value chain by 2030.

By partnering with other sustainable companies, companies can maximize efforts and encourage investors, consumers, and employees to support their sustainability initiatives.

Sustainability requires leadership in terms of personal responsibility and understanding the business benefits of sustainability. Sustainability leaders such as Rose Marcario of Patagonia, Leena Nair of Unilever, and Andrew Anagnost of Autodesk, understand that to do good, you have to be good, and to be successful, you have to be sustainable.

Companies that do not make a climate commitment or take substantive action to decarbonize will be left behind in today’s increasingly sustainable world.