How important is sustainability for business success?

Concept image of a green crumpled paper lightbulb, a symbol of innovation and eco-friendly business

How important is sustainability for business success?

Angela Dudney, Netura’s Head of Operations and Chief Finance Officer is passionate about climate action and the steps we can take (as individuals and businesses) for a better future.

Below you will find Angela’s key takeaways from a course she recently undertook at the University of Cambridge on Circular Economy and Sustainability Strategies.

After 20+ years of working as a finance professional, studying finance and living and breathing finance, it was very refreshing to study something different. And what I discovered was that sustainable business practices are very much integrated with finance, something I had not expected!  

My Key Takeaways

How important is sustainability for business success? – Sustainability must sit at the heart of any business to be impactful and recognised as authentic by customers. Companies that don’t have sustainability as part of their core value proposition have limited time to get suitable systems in place and avoid future reputational damage and loss of market share. This is because consumers have become hyper-vigilant and educated about sustainability.

But isn’t it more expensive to be sustainable? – Many businesses can be wary of introducing sustainable business practices due to a perception that it costs more to be “greener”. In most cases, the opposite is true. Your costs will decrease while you maximise productivity by designing waste out of your business operations, adopting sharing models, and creating supply chain efficiencies.

Generational differences – Attitudes toward sustainability varies between generations. Younger consumers are more actively taking steps towards being more sustainable. One-third of Millennials and Gen Z will choose the more sustainable product in a product offering. They are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with as they continue to represent a larger share of the consumer demographic.

If I ensure our products are recyclable, that’s enough, isn’t it? – No, designing a product that can “hopefully” be recycled at the end of its life is not enough to be considered sustainable. When businesses design products, they need to consider what happens to the product at the end of its life. They need to design products that are easy to dismantle and easily recyclable/reusable/refillable. Businesses should aim to keep the product/material in use for as long as possible. This means that businesses need to understand the local recycling options of their customers.

An all-around mindset shift in accountability is required – Generally, the final price of a product or service on the shelf has only considered the direct costs (manufacturing, overheads, etc.). This price tag does not reflect the social and environmental costs associated with manufacturing the product or providing that service. So, who is paying for that? This one might seem obvious, but when one thinks about it (as I did), one wonders– is this the way it should be?!

What is Netura doing to achieve their sustainability goals:

Over the last two years at my workplace, Netura, we have been working very hard to implement sustainable improvements to our business operations, such as:

  • Relocating our 3PLs to reduce carbon emissions in our logistics processes.
  • Buying Australian Made packaging for our products (rather than sourcing from overseas as was the norm before covid and the world relied on a “just in time” supply chain system). As a result of making these changes, we have connected with amazing businesses in our own backyard that we didn’t even know were there.
  • Changing our packaging manufacturers to manufacturers that operate in carbon-neutral facilities.
  • Removing plastic bubble wrap from our e-commerce and B2B deliveries.
  • Substituting all delivery satchels to ones that are reusable, recyclable or home compostable satchels.

I am really excited to take my learnings from the course and continue to improve our sustainability & circular journey!

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