Sustainability Issues: Challenges Business Face when going Green

Published: Nov 04, 2020
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Entrepreneurs all over the world have gotten the memo: going green is the absolute must if they want to align themselves with the new business standards, meet consumers expectations and ensure a profitable activity. The benefits of running a business the sustainable way are undeniable, and companies big and small are hopping on the eco-friendly bandwagon in an attempt to get with the times. 

Looking at things from this perspective, it’s all rainbows and butterflies. Businesses are starting to do their part; there’s a growing level of environmental awareness and the eco-friendly movement seems to become the new normal. However, no great thing can be achieved with ease, and taking the green route makes no exception. The challenges businesses have to deal with when embracing the environmentally friendly approach are not to be ignored. Understanding and learning more about these issues is essential for finding viable solutions and advancing on the eco-friend path. 

Lack of trust

For a lot of businesses, going green is a fairly new concept. As such, it can be understood that adopting green policies and putting them into practice requires time and there’s a high chance of making mistakes in the early stages. Add that to the fact that many companies are not being completely honest about the green practices they employ and label themselves as sustainable or eco-friendly when their green actions are not substantial enough, and the outcome is a low level of trust from the public. People are growing increasingly skeptical about companies that brag about their eco-friendly approach and demand more transparency in this regard. 

Long-term thinking 

Going green is a never-ending marathon, not a sprint. Finding quick fixes like running occasional eco-friendly campaigns in the community they activate does not transform a business into a sustainable one. Companies have to think of the future and implement measures that can guarantee on-going positive effects on the environment, regardless of their location. For example, improving waste management practices across Australia should start with businesses having strong eco-friendly policies in place, nurturing an environmentally friendly culture within the company and investing in the right tools and equipment in order to ensure long-term results. 

Higher prices

All innovation comes at a price, and sustainable businesses usually have higher price tags than the rest. A company that provides green products or services generally has to charge their customers more because the investment for bringing such products and services to the market is also higher. While most people are willing to pay a bit more for the perks of consuming eco-friendly products and supporting the green movement, if the prices are too high, they’ll look for cheaper, less sustainable alternatives. It’s a tricky challenge for businesses to strike a balance and find ways to provide these goods at a reasonable price while not compromising on quality and eco-friendliness.  

Lack of trained professionals 

Everyone’s talking about sustainability and how we should fight environmental issues in different contexts, but few people know what they’re actually talking about. We can easily extrapolate this phenomenon to the business landscape, because things are no different here. While companies are striving to upgrade their environmentally friendly practices, this endeavor is often hindered by the lack of trained professionals in the field. Surprisingly enough, even though environmental concerns are the talk of the town, we are short of sustainability experts that can lead businesses in the right direction. 

Insufficient investment

More often than not, companies are willing to go green, but not all of them are willing to pay the price. What does that mean? Businesses are not investing enough in green practices. That can happen either because they underestimate the resources needed for achieving the eco-friendly status or because they simply don’t want to use too much of their capital for this purpose. Sustainability requires full involvement and the mobilization of all business mechanisms, so cutting corners is only going to lead to average results. It’s either total commitment or eco-friendly failure.  

Poor organizational communication 

Even if the resources for greenifying a business are there, just waiting to be put to good use, there’s still a big chance that will not happen as expected if there’s poor communication between different departments of the company. These issues often arise between sustainability teams and financial teams. Ideally, both teams should work together towards achieving the same goal, but in reality, there are conflicting interests in the middle. Usually the scenario runs like this: going green is often left as an afterthought, so when the sustainability team expresses its requests and concerns, it’s usually after the financing team has decided on the budget. Therefore, it becomes difficult to reconsider budgeting, review projects and change strategies along the way. 

Lack of proper assessment 

No matter what measures companies decide to embrace on their journey to becoming green, there’s really no telling if they have any effect unless someone takes over the task of measuring results. But it’s not as simple as appointing someone to do this job. Without the proper tools and metrics that will allow a business to measure the impact of their investment and the results they’ve obtained over time, it’s next to impossible to properly assess the level of sustainability a company has achieved. There are many variables to take into consideration when measuring sustainability parameters, making it a complicated procedure that many companies don’t know how to address. 

Consistency and perseverance 

Last but not least, it takes time and patience to see results in this area. Any entrepreneur who expects to see results after implementing a few green measures is just kidding himself. Greenifying a business is about endurance and perseverance, despite the many challenges that stand in the way of reaching this objective. Progress often comes late and the outcomes might not be as spectacular as one might hope initially. That’s why so many business owners give up early and decide that the green route is not for them. However, for those who find the power to push through, the advantages are well worth the effort. 

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