It’s safe to say that my last post, How to save $4million, was, by far, my most popular yet. Netting ten times the number of readers, it was testament, not just to the power of an arresting headline, but to the ongoing interest in ways for businesses to reduce their costs.
What might have surprised readers however, was the fact that the post wasn’t to be found on a finance or business strategy blog, but one dedicated to corporate responsibility.
Lower costs, higher stock value
There is an abundance of evidence to support the economic case for corporate responsibility. For example, global management consultancy McKinsey has estimated that $2.9trillion dollars could be saved annually just by eliminating wasted energy.
Goldman Sachs found that companies that were leaders in sustainability and had good governance policies in place have a 25 percent higher stock value than less sustainable competitors. But despite the evidence, there is still a tendency, in some quarters at least, to assume that doing the right thing always comes at a cost to the business.
That might have been the case when the interpretation of corporate responsibility was just writing checks to worthy causes, but for today’s companies, it runs much deeper, often aligning to the company’s core values and, for the most forward-thinking, embedded as part of its business strategy.
A growing trend
Although CSC can’t claim savings in the trillions of dollars, our own energy reduction programs have already helped us reduce our absolute energy use by 15 percent within just two years. And we’re not alone in our ambition; 57 percent of Fortune 500 companies now produce sustainability reports, and the number of reporters is growing year on year.
As our furniture story demonstrated, there is often no difference between good business and sustainable business. And as businesses look for new ways to cut costs, applying the sustainability lens is often the way to kick-start innovation that’s good for business, good for society and good our environment.