Highlight of Week 1 in 2024
The first week of 2024 meant travel from Sheffield, South Yorkshire to Leeds, West Yorkshire for the NatWest Business Accelerator Accelerator. And, what an enjoyable day it was in the #LeedsHub!
It was wonderful to see so many founders after the Christmas break and gain insights about accessing new markets from Amirah Darr, NatWest’s Enterprise Manager in the Leeds Hub.
However, the highlight of my day was the opportunity to share with other business founders how to ‘Unlock the Power of Sustainability‘ in their business, be it selling services or products.
Not surprisingly, as Founder of the Sustainability Support Service (SSS) at PHY Ltd, I was delighted to share my highlight of the week in my #happyfriday post on my LinkedIn profile Veronica Broomes: https://lnkd.in/eQ7MA7a6. The post gathered many reactions (likes, loves and comments)! All of which were much appreciated particularly feedback about the talk on how to ‘Unlock the Power of Sustainability’ in business.
Indeed, it was a real pleasure to not only talk about what sustainability means, the pillars of people, planet and profit that underpin it (not only carbon reduction), but also dispel ‘myths’ as well as highlight benefits of integrating sustainability principles in business decisions as a small and medium enterprise (SME).
As observed by Paul Polman (former CEO of Unilever, a global business with many popular brands):
“Looking at the world through a sustainability lens not only helps us ‘future proof’ our supply chain, it also fuels innovation and drives brand growth.”
In the ‘Unlock the Power of Sustainability’ talk by Dr Veronica Broomes, not only did business founders gain insights into the benefits that flow when they can ‘Unlock the Power of Sustainability’ in their business, but facts were presented to address common myths (misconceptions) about sustainability. To ensure relevance to the audience, the focus was on the relevance of sustainability to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Common myths about sustainability that need to be debunked immediately
Included in the talk were examples of myths about sustainability that needed debunking so as to help business founders avoid hindering progress in growth and scaling. Three common myths about sustainability are shared now alongside facts about sustainability.
Sustainability is only for large business, not SMEs (MYTH 1)
FACT -any business or enterprise can embed sustainability in their day-to-day operations, business plans and strategies)
Sustainability is about accreditation or certification (MYTH 2)
FACT -accreditation or certification will not make a business sustainable. What the frameworks can help with is to document current practices and suggest new actions to be taken to enable consistency across an organisation as it considers environmental, social, economic and governance issues. For many small and medium enterprises already taking action in several areas, often an accreditation such as B Corporation is an ‘over engineered solution’ that is not the best investment of time, money and other business resources. Neither is it practical to invest hundreds of hours over several weeks or months in university courses or similar initiatives catering for large groups of students across multiple industries and sectors.
Too costly’ to implement (MYTH 3)
FACT: Cost of sustainability depends on what tailored solutions you can access and how you phase the integration into your business over time and teams.
For example, attending a customised training course or having a bespoke one-to-one session to ask questions about sustainability and your specific business can deliver high return on investment (ROI) in a short time-frame from new business opportunities, savings from lower operational costs or new revenue stream. In addition, when compared with savings made from recruitment costs because of higher levels of staff retention or attracting talent that adds huge value to the business, then initial cost investment can be recouped many times over in the short to medium-term.
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