Competition and Collaboration for Sustainability

Sustainability has become a necessity not just for the planet, but for businesses too. Today, business leaders face increasing pressure from employees, customers, and investors to take action on environmental issues.

If they don’t, they risk everything from employee satisfaction to investment and may be left struggling to keep up with future green legislation. For companies who do take action, however, the future holds enormous opportunity.

The tricky part is, what action do you take? While certain steps are ubiquitous across all businesses, how you implement a sustainability strategy and what areas you cut down on will be specific to your industry and even your individual company.

This is where looking at what your competition is doing can help you out.

Competitiveness has always pushed businesses forward, and in the realm of sustainability, that stays the same. The “green domino effect” means that once an industry leader falls for sustainability, it knocks the rest over too. And once the competitive green one-upsmanship gets going, it’s hard to stop.

If your competition is already doing more than you are for the environment, it may be giving them an edge over you in the consumer market. Ask yourself what they are doing that you aren’t, how are they marketing their efforts, and what you could learn from them.

As many companies are likely to put out impact reports, you may also be able to directly compare your company’s performance against your competitors in areas such as carbon footprint or community impact. Think about why these differences exist and what you could be doing to improve.

Understanding the dynamics of industry-wide sustainability pressures will, in turn, help your business in planning for its next steps.

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Despite the benefits of learning from your competition, becoming a sustainable, net-zero, or even climate positive business is difficult to do alone. The need for collaboration to drive change and address the risks the climate crisis poses has never been greater.

In the past few years, this is something business leaders around the world have begun to recognise.

As a result, there has been a boom in sustainable collaborations, from company to company (e.g. GSK-Barclays), company to NGO (e.g. CH2MHILL-The Natural Conservancy), single industry (e.g. Sustainable Hospitality Alliance), and even multi-sector collaborations(e.g. Collectively.org).

For all businesses, collaboration can ‘supercharge’ sustainability efforts, helping you learn and grow from others, and strategic partnerships can help introduce your business to a wider audience.

For SMEs at the start of their sustainability journey, industry bodies and NGOs can be particularly valuable allies. Drawing on their expertise, networks, tools and resources can help smaller companies unlock their full potential and provide additional scale.

At Play it Green, we believe collaboration and transparency should be at the heart of sustainability. Not only do our members get access to our Net Zero Framework, which allows them to review, plan and set actions in 9 key business areas, but they also gain access to our network of sustainability experts.

This means that no matter how you plan on reducing your footprint, Play it Green will be there to help you on your journey.

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