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East Midlands Chamber News

Benefits of operating in a sustainable and ethical way

Customers are becoming more conscious about how their money is spent, leading to demand for businesses to be able to prove they operate in a sustainable and ethical way.

Where once just a nice ‘add on’, customers now demand proof that their hard-earned pounds are financing only the things they believe in, from energy-efficiency to free-trade and the like.

Companies that fail to meet expectations are seeing customers take their trade elsewhere, principle often outweighing price as a driver of sales.

This shift in discernment was the subject of a summit hosted by the Chamber yesterday, attended by over 90 delegates.

The Sustainability Summit, at the Riverside Centre, Derby, explored some of the ways in which businesses can gain a competitive advantage by engaging in this agenda and, consequently, become more attractive to customers and potential employees.

The University of Derby presented on findings of the growth of activity in this area, taken from the Chambers QES, which was a unique piece of research undertaken in this region – the full findings of this report will be published in due course.

Delegates also heard from HS2 Ltd, which will be utilising a circular economy approach to its procurement in which companies showing stronger social responsibility could find favour.

Chamber Patron Utility Alliance, delivered some stark figures on the future rising costs of energy and changing to energy tariff charges, bringing higher costs - this provided a further incentive for business to look to reduce the energy usage and improve their carbon footprint.

Delegates also heard about a range of sustainable business development goals that can be applied within business but that it was essential that senior management buys into these goals to ensure success.

In the closing panel discussion The Mayor of the City of Derby, Councillor John Whitby, highlighted the support available through a range of funded projects, such as the D2EE Energy efficiency grants, which he implored business to take advantage of while still available.

Ian Bates, Sector Forums Manager at the Chamber, said: “With the range of information now available at people’s fingertips, customers and potential employees can find out almost instantly whether a company’s ethos matches their own and, where it is found lacking, quickly move on.

“This is not only impacting sales, it also, potentially, means prospective suitably skilled employees might prefer to work for other another company.”

The summit provided a range of speakers, covering topics such as forthcoming energy tariffs changes, the direction of travel of the energy markets, ‘responsible’ business and combining profit with people and the planet.

This event was delivered in partnership with: