Gain a Competitive Advantage by Going Green
by Pablo Arroyo | October 24, 2020
It is undeniable that COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on businesses, not only in Florida but across the nation. Rather than giving up, many business owners are adapting to this new way of life, beginning to express a renewed interest in their business, and are redefining their strategy.
The pandemic has enhanced a sense of environmental sustainability and social responsibility within a lot of Americans. In fact, according to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Industry: Sustainability Survey 2020, nearly 61 percent of business owners plan to balance social and environmental issues as the pandemic crisis evolves. This means there’s an opportunity to develop sustainable products and implement sustainable sourcing of supplies.
Seeking an environmentally sustainable solution is nothing new to many business owners. Before COVID-19, some businesses were already concerned about their environmental impact strategy. However, their concerns typically revolved around climate change issues, things like recycling or dealing with plastic waste for example. Now there’s a broader awareness regarding local community and the economic impact that something like this pandemic has on everyone. This newfound awareness has inspired change, starting at the local level.
Some customers are demanding a change, many of whom are making buying decisions based on the environmental and social impact of various products. Generation Z and millennials are the most environmentally and socially conscious buyers right now and they are willing to spend more on sustainable and socially responsible brands.
This makes it essential for business owners to adapt and to create a green business model and a new marketing strategy. It will help establish a reputation, provide credibility and bring new opportunities that will give the business a competitive advantage over competitors resistant to change.
There may be some skeptics that believe this environmental initiative is just a trend and that eventually, the younger generations will move on to another cause. This is not true. The younger generations are indeed more aware, but older generations are also seeing the value of these changes.
In fact, there are currently many organizations dedicated to the success of these initiatives. Locally, business owners can turn to the Sustany Foundation. According to their website, “The Sustany Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainability on a local level and supports innovative community programs that preserve our unique environment, improve human health, foster collaborative learning, and promotes economic prosperity in Tampa Bay.”
The Sustany Foundation not only offers educational programs, but they also provide mini-grants to local businesses dedicated to adopting sustainable initiatives in their business.
This foundation is not the only resource to help business owners make a change. The following list of organizations provide resources for businesses, products, or services to become certified as, or provide resources to become environmentally sustainable.
- Patel College of Global Sustainability
- Ocean Allies
- B Lab
- Green Business Bureau
- Ecolabel Index
- Sustainable Development Goals
Once a business becomes certified, they can use that delineation on their products and services and market to a new audience. Before it becomes the new norm, businesses should act now in order to gain a competitive advantage and gain a loyal following.
More and more businesses are adopting new technological advancements, not only in their marketing strategies but in new ways for designing, engaging and delivering products and services to the marketplace. They should also adopt the same mentality when it comes to environmental and social issues. It is unlikely that COVID-19 will be the last global challenge businesses face. We live in Florida, a state blessed by its beauty and natural resources. It is imperative that business owners act quickly when faced with the challenges that can affect this driver of our economic growth.
NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP), Florida SBDC at USF, Tampa
Specialties: International Trade, Marketing, Business Planning, Startup AssistancePablo Arroyo has 17 years of experience in business development as an owner and business consultant in the public and private sectors. He is a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) and a Certified Marketing Executive (CME). He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science, concentrating on international agriculture and agriculture economics, from the University of Missouri, and an MBA from the University of South Florida in marketing and international business. Arroyo was involved in strategic market expansion for companies from diverse sectors with emphasis on manufacturing, technology, agribusiness, food, tourism, hospitality, entrepreneurship and value-added enterprise development. Originally from Puerto Rico, he is fluent in Spanish and English.