Concern for the impact we’re all having on the planet is now being voiced across the world. Today’s climate activists range from schoolchildren to leaders of nations, all fighting to drive change before it’s too late. The overarching message is clear – time is running out.
We’re all being called on to do more. Governments, industries, businesses and individuals. Every one of us has a contribution to make. UN Deputy Chief Amina Mohammed has repeatedly urged businesses to take a proactive stance to improve their own practices and engage with stakeholders to have a chance of achieving what are becoming essential sustainability goals.
Each day we make choices in our lives that impact the environment, the climate and our planet. Many of us are trying to “do our bit” at an individual level – from conserving water to reducing single-use plastic. But there are compelling reasons for businesses, who arguably have the potential to wield greater impact, to put sustainability front and centre of what they do.
Reasons for change
The fact is, businesses that have a sustainable approach see greater economic success than those that don’t. Consumers are increasingly making decisions about whether they engage with a brand based on ethical and sustainable factors, rather than cost alone. This is widely acknowledged in the corporate world. Ricoh commissioned research reveals that 66% of leaders believe that sustainability will become an increasingly important success factor for their business as it grows.
There has been a steady increase in organisations making a public stand and putting their commitments to addressing sustainability issues on the table for all to see. Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign last year featured a giant whale made from plastic recovered from beaches, encouraging the public to dispose of waste responsibly. Ikea has also put sustainability at the top of its agenda, launching a solar panel-powered store in London and committing to phasing out all single-use plastic from its products by 2020. The proof is in the pudding – the 2018 Ikea sales figures revealed continued growth of 5.9 per cent to £1.96 billion despite an increasingly competitive retail landscape.
Ricoh has been a champion for change for years, from committing to reducing its own ecological footprint by joining the RE100 in 2017 to using 100% renewable energy sources across all sites by 2050. Ricoh has aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals where it can make an impact to deliver a more sustainable future. A critical role in working with partners and customers comes in enabling them to work smarter, use fewer resources and improve their own environmental performance.