Head of Revolt Ventures, Revolt
Co-founder of Management Consultancy, Revolt
Companies that adopt a sustainable approach to their business can reap valuable benefits in terms of growth and reputation.
Transitioning to a more purposeful approach offers just as many opportunities for businesses and brands as the digital revolution.
The shift, according to experts, helps build trust with customers, stakeholders and the workforce, as more companies adopt a sustainable outlook to their operations.
Yet such a transition must be built on credible action to avoid criticism of “greenwashing” and merely giving the impression that a company appears more of a force for good than it actually is.
Alex Lewis, Co-founder of management consultancy Revolt, highlights the importance of supporting commitment to the environment with actions.
“We’ve seen how a purposeful, sustainable approach pays back. It builds reputation, it creates marketing cut-through and it unlocks new opportunity for innovation,” he explains.
“But ultimately a purposeful business must leave the world in a better place than they found it. They need to build from credible commitments. Not just in terms of a healthier planet, but also the broader positive societal impact it can deliver.”
The transition to a sustainable outlook over the next 20 years, he suggests, is going to be as significant as the digital transformation of the last two decades.
Mr Lewis points to the importance of companies embracing sustainability as a means of building reputation, connecting with an audience and developing breakthroughs, innovations and brands, “which might not in the past have had an audience.”
However, to achieve valuable payback from the commitment, the move has to be built on credible change to avoid falling into the greenwash trap.
Looking at strategic opportunities through the lens of purpose, not just one-dimensional trends, can be a commercial opportunity that many miss.
For companies, there are benefits on many levels, notably with personnel. “People within the business want to know that they work for a good employer who is heading in the right direction, so there is a positive benefit in terms of attracting, retaining and motivating talent,” he says.
From there, it has appeal to consumers, stakeholders and suppliers who want to be associated with such a company.
For major organisations, the transition can involve a significant shift, whereas for smaller agile ventures, this sustainable approach can be part of their identity from the outset.
Jenny Double, Head of Revolt Ventures, says that purpose and sustainability are a business opportunity and a fruitful “springboard” for new solutions and innovation.
“Consumers are expectant of brands to be driving purposeful change and helping them to adopt behaviours that protect people and planet,” she says. “Bigger organisations cannot do that overnight, but innovation and start-ups can be a real accelerator. Looking at strategic opportunities through the lens of purpose, not just one-dimensional trends, can be a commercial opportunity that many miss.”
At Revolt, key challenges posed to clients are about how to: make a sustainable transformation in a distinctive way; ensure investments in sustainability help build the reputation of a business and brand; and involve consumers in the sustainable actions taken. The company helps major global organisations, including Mars, l’Oreal and adidas, lead with action as they embark on their transformation to being a purposeful business.
Ms Double concludes that we’ve seen the benefits digital-first businesses have realised. A clear message is that ‘’purpose-first businesses will be best placed to succeed in the future.”