Edelman’s 2021 “Trust Barometer” arrived at an interesting conclusion, one that would have been difficult to imagine a decade ago. Page 6 of its report is headlined, “Business Becomes Only Trusted Institution.”
It then asserts that “Business [is] more trusted than government in 18 of 27 countries.”
A big reason? Sustainability initiatives.
The report notes that 61 percent of respondents believe addressing climate change has grown more important over the past year and that when businesses embrace sustainable practices, “The likelihood of trust is up 5.7 percent.”
Sustainability matters to consumers, so it must also matter to businesses. The good news is the need for businesses to combine operational excellence and social and environmental responsibility no longer is up for debate.
As Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever observed to McKinsey, “Any company that wants to stay relevant in the future should think about sustainable behavior.”
The first step for businesses is embracing the circular economy of reduce, reuse, refurbish, repair and recycle. There are many initiatives that can be undertaken that will make a significant difference.
Customers also are aware that there is sometimes a distance between what is said and what is done, and “greenwashing” — inauthentically claiming sustainable practices — will create backlash. Volkswagen’s “Clean Diesel” would be a well-known example.
The opposite is also true: Significant efforts can foster significant public praise and great PR. Here are some examples of initiatives that earned headlines.
Research completed by the Harvard Business Review concluded that “While often expensive, running a sustainable business can pay off in the long run — both financially and environmentally... [and] sustainable businesses see greater financial gains than their unsustainable counterparts.”
As Jope noted to McKinsey, “There is already evidence to indicate that money invested in green stimulus seems to result in a better ROI.”
Miller Zell is committed to environmentally friendly policies and practices, both with our own in-house efforts and in our partnerships with clients.
So, on Earth Day 2021, Miller Zell applauds businesses that prioritize green efforts all year long.
It makes a difference. For the world, and for the bottom line.
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