The link between future-proofing your business, connectedness and your comfort zone.
Being socially and environmentally responsible has become so popular and in-demand that the majority of companies now incorporate at least some form of sustainability element into their brand messaging. Whether it is an organisation’s impact on the environment, on human health and wellbeing, fair trade or income equality, buyers want to know their vendors’ behaviours are aligned with their own values.
A decade ago, many of those claims were so-called ‘greenwash’: well-crafted messages, rather than clear evidence of sustainability from commercial entities. This prompted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to release the report Green Marketing and the Australian Consumer Law, which introduced clear guidelines and penalties for misleading claims.
Savvy buyers have since learned to tell which companies are sincere about social and environmental change: These consumers engage with businesses, asking questions and demanding answers because they are connected to the issues that matter to them. Consumers value the appropriate certifications.
And, they expect businesses to take a life cycle approach to products and services, rather than making so-called ‘single-issue claims’. For example, a product claiming to be recyclable does not necessarily make it sustainable. The majority of its negative impact might come from the greenhouse gas emissions it emits when thrown to landfill despite being recyclable – since often there is no real infrastructure available to recycle it in the first place.
Taking a lifecycle approach to sustainability connects the dots of product design, infrastructure design and human behaviour (often driven by some kind of incentive) to achieve proper sustainability outcomes, and it is a much more holistic way to plan and measure sustainability practices
It is this kind of ‘connecting the dots’ strategies that Edge specialises in. Our recent customer research study revealed that our long-term clients now expect scientific and technical rigour and flexible delivery from Edge in every engagement. And rightly so.
Interestingly, our research also revealed how Edge is different and compelling to clients. We help responsible organisations connect with the right people, expertise and partners to create beneficial results for their business, that also positively impact the planet. We leverage our vast relationships in the industry to unearth innovative solutions to old problems. We combine the science of sustainability with rich business acumen to create commercial advantage, sometimes going so far with the client as to transform whole business models. And we unite cultures with the right design, education and incentives to change everyday behaviours.
We’ve discovered it is this extra piece of lateral thinking – of bringing together client companies with symbiotic opportunities, connecting people with fresh perspectives, or connecting the dots beyond the science – that creates exponential results. And so, our purpose-driven business now has a new promise and a new look and feel to proudly badge the talk that we walk every day.
It has been an eye-opening, incredibly pleasing experience, connecting the reality of what we do with what clients want from us. Admittedly, not every step has been entirely comfortable for a room full of scientists, economists and engineers. But stepping outside our comfort zone with external expertise has helped us to see the wood for the trees. We know that to uncover what is truly meaningful and valuable to our customers will only strengthen our business.
And now we beseech business and brand leaders of Australian companies to step outside their comfort zone too. Why not bring in the scientists and economists to assist you to find the real commercial benefit in real sustainability practices? After all, it is what your customers are looking for