Managing the risks of undertaking a process of sustainable development
By adopting eco-responsible measures, businesses can do much more than just improve their profitability. They can further satisfy their clientele and bump their reputation up a few notches!
Several surveys have shown that close to two thirds of consumers feel that it is important or very important that environmental criteria are respected when choosing a product or service. A company’s reputation therefore no longer simply involves environmental regulations but perception as well!
According to one case study, companies in Quebec and in France committed to eco-design noted a marked improvement in their image and reputation. And this can be directly attributed to their “eco-designed” products.
It has therefore become essential for these companies to maintain constructive relations with their stakeholders (employees, suppliers, clients, non-profit organizations, investors, etc.), whose sometimes negative perceptions can jeopardize their reputation and value.
These negative perceptions generate what have become known as “social risks.” These include potential damages that may prevent a company from attaining its environmental objectives.
To prevent these negative perceptions from turning into negative actions (boycotts or demonstrations, for example), dialogue with stakeholders is key. Their involvement in the sustainable development process creates new economic, social, and environmental value. It is therefore essential for companies to have transparent management and decision-making processes in every facet of their activity.
Sharing information also allows companies to reduce the risks of being accused of greenwashing, a marketing practice that consists of giving a company a falsely ecologically responsible image. Clients that are properly informed about a company’s environmental practices will have a better opinion of the firm, will be more likely to trust it, and will remain loyal!
> In our next article, learn more about how a company’s sustainable development strategy can help attract and retain talent.
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