Sustainability of Products and Business Processes in the Wake of Climate Change


Chr. Hansen Holdings A/S is a Denmark-based bioscience company. It ranked number one on the sustainable business practices survey conducted by Canadian research firm Corporate Knights for 2019. The companies are ranked on key metrics of sustainability, like carbon footprint and gender diversity. Chr. Holdings are involved in developing natural solutions for many industries, including food, beverage, and agricultural sectors. It uses “good” bacteria to ensure food stays fresh from the farm to market.

Such companies are rare who have sustainability practices in place while generating revenues of over USD1 billion. There are tech giants too on the global list like Alphabet and Cisco Systems Inc. But still, in 2020, sustainability is still seen by many companies as not something they should invest in as it is against the norm.

What Businesses Can Do in this Regard?

Customers of any product love sustainability and big conglomerates and businesses must look to operate more sustainable businesses that can stand the test of time. Sustainability must be seen as a core business principle rather than a marketing gimmick. Companies must understand that their target audience is now smart enough to differentiate between products that are sustainable or not.

A study conducted by UCLA found that the employees of companies that adopt sustainable practices become productive by over 16%. Forward-thinking business practices and increase efficiency are essential for any company, but green practices are what make businesses achieve sustainability in the long term.

Dealing with climate change and global warming are two issues related to sustainability. Actor Leonardo Di Caprio and Robert Redford are two staunch supporters of climate change initiatives, and just recently, Jeff Bezos pledged 10 billion dollars for this cause. The inclusion and interest shown by celebrities and business tycoons give it the media attention it deserves and provides the issue with the limelight.

Related Read: Sustainability Leadership: How the Paradigm is Shifting To Triple Bottom Line

How Different Regions around the World Define Sustainability?

While sustainability is all about recycled products in the US and Canada, it can be related to the environment in the Asian countries and a fair price for much of Africa and Europe. This study has been done by “The Conference Board” and has some more interesting findings too.

Take the examples of some of the biggest companies in the world investing in sustainability so that they can go well beyond the requirements of regulators and government. Companies like Apple and IKEA are using alternative energy, with Apple using green energy to power its manufacturing plants, and IKEA is using ocean-bound plastics to make its products. As a small business or startup, you also need to think this way and do whatever you can in your limited means. See the next point in which more ideas are discussed.

Use of Recycled Products

Making the supply chain process efficient, along with reducing raw materials usage and waste, must be your priority. Just like big conglomerates, small businesses can also take advantage of it. But much planning is needed along with lots of time to execute. However, there are some practices you can adopt that won’t take much time.

Using products which are recycled is one way to make things better for your company and the employees. Motivate them to use recycled products. Start using LEDs rather than bulbs and standard tube lights, which are far better in saving energy and last longer too.

Companies can offer some incentives for employees in going for green practices and options for a lifestyle that results in lesser carbon emissions. For example, Bank of America pays $500 to its employees for the installation of a solar panel. And Facebook offers employees $10,000 if they can move within 10 miles of its Silicon Valley campus. The reduction of carbon emission is one reason why Facebook recommends this, and that’s a great initiative in this regard.

Small businesses and startups may not have massive capital so that they can shell out 10,000 dollars to their employees, but these are just two examples. Companies can motivate employees to work towards making our planet clean and green, and their efforts can be appreciated in the form of the employee of the month award, a certificate, or any other form of recognition.

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Crunching the Numbers as the Clock is Ticking

Climate change has a massive effect on making products sustainable, and even businesses as a whole also suffer a lot. We all know how crucial it is to make the situation under control, but the data from the last three decades is not promising. Over the previous 30 years, we have lost over 1.6 trillion dollars due to extreme weather. And further damage is on the horizon as just a 2-degrees Fahrenheit increase in the temperature will make the world’s gross domestic products lose 15%.

The results of wildfires in California and bush fires in Australia last year has amounted to billions of dollars, with wildlife perhaps the biggest casualty. Global warming can be easily termed as the culprit, but we are all responsible for such extreme weather due to the emission of greenhouse gases. For producing sustainable products and running such businesses, we all need to sit down and devise strategies before its too late.

Final Word

Sustainability for businesses and the products produced by them is certainly a big issue. But as you can see, threats such as climate change are real and have a huge impact on the sustainability of many products. And that’s why companies’ business practices and daily operations also need to be revised.

What businesses need is to develop a bunch of professionals who can assess and advise them on how to handle extreme weather and climate change to produce sustainable products. And also make their processes streamlined to cope up with the challenges that lie ahead.

Please offer your valuable feedback for this blog or ask any questions you have in mind by using the comments section below.