Three ways for business owners to make their company more sustainable (and profitable)

Farmer checking his crop in a greenhouse, using a tablet computer Crédit photo : UBS

Farmer checking his crop in a greenhouse, using a tablet computer Crédit photo : UBS

What does sustainability mean to you and your business? In Luxembourg, the scrutiny of businesses' environmental, social, and corporate governance programs looks set to further intensify. But does this shift spell more opportunity or an increase in risk? UBS presents three simple steps for any business to become more sustainable, purposeful… and potentially more profitable.

It's not just regulators who require more sustainable businesses. A stakeholder-driven revolution is compelling firms to reflect sustainable values — climate protection, diversity and inclusion, and clean oceans to name a few. According to the HP Workforce Sustainability Survey: Global Insights Report, 61% of office workers confirm that sustainability is a need-to-have in corporate strategy. At the same time, 77% of UK consumers say they have avoided or boycotted firms based on their inadequate sustainability credentials.

In Luxembourg, the trend has been taken very seriously from early on, with different engagements at the national and international level, such as the Luxembourg Sustainable Finance roadmap and the launch of the Luxembourg Green Exchange.

These are just two of the projects highlighting that sustainability opportunities are clearly on the rise. Matching a business's purpose to its clients' values can attract first-time customers through new products and solutions. And while sustainable business expenditures like an electric car fleet cost money, the potential to generate long-term improvements can be substantial.

As the global leading wealth manager, UBS is constantly exploring different ways that business owners, investors, and philanthropists can address the biggest environmental, social, and corporate governance challenges of today and tomorrow. As over 90% of firms' environmental impact originates from their supply chains, UBS connects entrepreneurs with like-minded peers, social entrepreneurs, and philanthropists to drive systemic change.

“Becoming a more sustainable business increasingly makes sense for your wallet,” says Michaela Seimen, Sustainable Investing Strategist in the Chief Investment Office of UBS Global Wealth Management. Locally known for her recent participation at the LFF’s Sustainable Finance Forum, Seimen adds, “Building a structured sustainable business plan in a profit-oriented way can generate higher returns in terms of financial performance but also stakeholder acceptance.”

Business owners can nurture a more sustainable, profitable business in three ways:

1. Define sustainable business practices and why they matter to your firm. Is sustainability a "must-do" or "want-to-do" strategy for your business? How can you add value for people, planet, and profits? And what are the best ways to tackle, measure, and report on sustainability to your stakeholders?

2. Assess and address the sustainability factors that matter most to your business. It might be tempting to tackle the causes that match your values. But are these the environmental, social, and governance factors that most influence your firms' operations, profits, and purpose? Discover the power of peers, networks, and portfolios to help you identify the material issues for your business.

3. Keep it simple when starting to measure your sustainability performance. Look at practical ways to measure social and environmental outcomes, ideally alongside your existing data collection. Sustainability data enables you to understand your business better—and can feed into your success.

For business owners and entrepreneurs, UBS Luxembourg offers a variety of suitable solutions both for your firm and for your total wealth, including corporate advisory, equities, alternative investments, and philanthropic opportunities. Embedding sustainability into the core of your business can deliver better outcomes for society, the planet, and your commercial performance.

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