Intelligent SME.tech Issue 22 - Page 37

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Why eco-consciousness is a smart long-term business strategy

Nowadays , consumers expect brands to be honest about their carbon footprint . Thierry Nicault , Area Vice
President – Middle East and North Africa , Salesforce , speaks to us about how being eco-friendly and having a clear sustainability strategy is a smart business investment and how this can be useful in the long-run .
HE LATEST EDELMAN

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Trust Barometer indicates that consumers look to businesses to lead in times of uncertainty , with 52 % of respondents saying they don ’ t think businesses are doing enough to address climate problems .
Research shows that exhibiting value-focused leadership is good for profit . Companies that align with a customer ’ s values can help seal the deal against the competition . When values are misaligned , customers are not hesitant to purchase elsewhere .
In fact , according to Salesforce ’ s fifth State of the Connected Customer Report , over three-quarters ( 78 %) of customer purchasing decisions are swayed by environmental practices and two-thirds ( 66 %) have ceased buying from companies whose values didn ’ t align with their own .
Businesses that want to remain future-proof and stand out against the competition should strive to implement ethical and sustainable practices . But the work doesn ’ t stop there , retaining trust is just as important as building it , and authenticity is crucial in maintaining an engaged customer base .
Balancing short-term and longterm gains
Although sustainable practices attract and retain customers , they can also be more expensive to implement . So how can companies balance these as part of a successful business strategy ?
The reality is that sustainable practices don ’ t always align with maximising profit in the short term . Historically , businesses have been built by encouraging consumers to continue consuming and sustainability has taken a back seat . Reframing this mindset is a good place to start .
Creating products that aren ’ t meant to last is a sure-fire way to ensure repeat customers , but that comes at the cost of the planet . In the short-term , this sounds like a good business strategy , however as consumers look to purchase from more environmentally friendly brands , implementing sustainable practices will help retailers retain customers and remain profitable in the long term .

ECO- CONSCIOUSNESS IS A SMART , LONG-TERM BUSINESS STRATEGY .
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