Did you know that today over a dozen companies sell more than a billion dollars EVERY YEAR in green products?
Here are some examples:
Costco is now the largest organic food retailer. They sell $4 billion of organic food annually.
Walmart has developed their own Sustainability Index to qualify vendors and products. Today the products that quality under this Sustainability Index account for $1.5 billion in sales.
Toyota sells 1.4 billion hybrid vehicles annually. This represents 17% of there annual sales growth.
Tesla is launching the model 3. It is an all electric car selling for $35,000 before tax incentives with a 200 mile range on a full charge. When Tesla announced this new model it received $10 billion in pre-orders.
Begin winning customers with authenticity
The question is how does your business use sustainability to grow sales and profits?
The first step is having products, and a business, that consumers view as being authentic. Clif Bar is one of my favorite examples. They are growing at 17% annual compound rate! And their customers give them high marks for their values. In this video CEO Kevin Cleary describes how he has made “connecting people to what matters” the core of his company’s success:
Build your business success with these six best practices
How to build business success by going green is no longer a pioneering process. There are now proven best practices for doing so. Here are six that will win customers and grow profits, often within 90 days of implementation:
First Project Success.
Every business has to start somewhere. The question is how to begin? The ideal starting point is to identify one sustainable best practice that a business can implement within 90 days. The criteria for selecting that first sustainability project are:
- A clear path for making money
- A measurable result that will make a difference for people, the planet or both.
A good example is the installation of LED lights. They reduce costs from lower energy consumption and reduced maintenance. Because they use less electricity they also reduce related emissions.
Revenue Growth Best Practices.
Most small businesses cannot survive a price war. They must win customers by offering both value and values. Here are four steps for creating a values based business that will attract and win customers:
- Purpose. Shape your business and products around customer-focused purpose. What does your company do, and what does your product deliver, that fulfills a purpose that is important to a customer? Successfully answer that question and you will have very loyal customers.
- Emotional connection. Most customers are searching for love, trust, joy, meaning, fun and social engagement? Think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Don’t position sustainability as something a customer should adopt. Explain sustainability in terms of how it makes a customer cool, happier or joyful.
- Social. Who you are and what your products represents to customers is defined by what your customers and work associates post on social media. Transparency wins trust and trust wins customers.
- Engage. Advertising is being blocked by customers either on the Internet or by streaming past ads. Engagement is now the lifeblood of social media and your sales. Posting ads on social media should be done to increase the dialogue with your customers. If you can get them talking with you then you have a strong sales opportunity. The key is to engage people on purposeful topics that enables them to express their opinion, and most importantly, for them to see your business act on their postings.
The use of green teams is proven to grow profits, improve work associate health and reduce environmental footprints. Most especially with millennials. They expect their jobs to include their participation in corporate social responsibility. Companies from Johnson & Johnson to Walmart have pioneered best practices for engaging work associates on projects that make money and a difference.
Buildings and vehicles are typically low hanging fruit for achieving cost reductions through deployment of proven sustainability best practices. Identify and implement projects that reduce operating costs by reducing energy/water consumption or recycling/repurposing waste streams. Companies like Dupont and GM are saving hundreds of millions of dollars annually by recycling or repurposing their waste streams.
CFO engagement is vital to a company’s sustainability success. Sustainability is often a new area of engagement for a CFO and their staff. Engage your company’s financial leadership in developing risk and financial performance metrics that align with the company’s progress toward increased use of sustainability best practices.
Strategy Design. The companies that achieve the highest level of business success using sustainable best practices have one key common feature. Their CEO is engaged. Their CEO has adopted purpose and sustainability as part of the business strategy.
About the author
Bill Roth is a clean tech pioneer who led the team that launched the first hydrogen fueled Prius. He is a featured contributor on Triple Pundit and Latin Business Today. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, has been used by thousands of business people to implement proven green best practices that make money and a difference. Bill’s latest book, The Boomer Generation Diet, is his personal story on how to achieve sustained weight loss while still having fun and living more. The book’s ten customizable best practices are the sustainable solutions to our national weight crisis that threatens our health and medical cost bankruptcy.