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How Sustainability Is Changing for Corporations and Investors

Sustainability, along with its related technology, is a rapidly evolving trend. As customers and the public exert pressure on corporations to become more sustainable, these companies are in turn exerting pressure on their suppliers and other business partners.

One major reason is the fact that younger consumers prioritize sustainability when making purchasing decisions. Below are some insights about the changing nature of sustainability and how this sector will impact the business community.

Why It Matters

According to Harvard Business Review, Millennial and Gen-Z customers are 27 percent more likely than older generations to purchase a brand if they believe the company cares about its impact on people and the planet. The financial implications are significant since the study estimates $68 trillion in wealth will transfer from Boomers to younger generations by 2030.

Impact to Corporations

Most corporations have taken positive steps related to sustainability and clean technology. In a well-known example, Tesla built an electric car empire based on clean technology. Apple asked its suppliers to become more sustainable, and Amazon increased its focus on renewable energy. Google started using artificial intelligence (AI) to help cool its massive data centers more efficiently. While such actions are expensive, they can increase company valuations substantially. I believe that as generations change, corporations should view sustainability as part of their corporate mandate.

A major opportunity for corporations to become more sustainable is through collaboration with startups and leveraging their creative ideas. By forming long-term partnerships and investing in startups, corporations can become more innovative and respond more effectively to ever-changing customer needs.

How Sustainability Is Changing

As business professionals, we must be informed about the latest advancements in sustainability, irrespective of whether we are corporate executives, startup founders, or investors. Today, companies of all sizes are placing a greater emphasis on this sector, driven by factors such as increased awareness of environmental and social issues, evolving consumer preferences, and regulatory pressures.

Therefore, it is important to understand the key factors contributing to these changes.

  • Integration of sustainability into business strategies. Many corporations and startups are recognizing the importance of embedding sustainability into their core business strategies rather than treating it as a separate initiative. This involves incorporating sustainable practices throughout the supply chain, production processes, and product life cycle.
  • Reporting and transparency. There is an increasing demand for transparency and disclosure regarding sustainability efforts. Corporations and startups are publishing sustainability reports that outline their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. Investors and consumers are paying more attention to these reports to make informed decisions.
  • Renewable energy and resource efficiency. Companies are investing in renewable energy sources and adopting more energy-efficient technologies to reduce their carbon footprint. This includes transitioning to renewable energy sources, implementing energy-saving technologies, and optimizing resource usage.
  • Environmentally friendly innovation. Startups, in particular, are at the forefront of developing innovative solutions to address sustainability challenges. This includes technologies for waste reduction, carbon capture, and sustainable agriculture.
  • Social responsibility and inclusivity. Beyond environmental concerns, there is an increasing emphasis on social responsibility. Companies are expected to address issues such as diversity and inclusion, fair labor practices, and community engagement.
  • Regulatory compliance. Governments are implementing stricter regulations related to environmental impact and corporate responsibility. Companies of all sizes need to stay informed about and comply with these regulations.
  • Consumer awareness and preferences. Consumer awareness of environmental and social issues is driving changes in purchasing behavior. Businesses are responding by offering sustainable products and transparently communicating their efforts to meet consumer expectations.

Why the Business Community Should Care

As sustainability and clean technology have become more important, business community members are increasingly interested in understanding it better. There are several reasons why caring is critical:

  • Risk mitigation. Sustainability considerations help in identifying and mitigating long-term risks associated with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Companies that address these issues are often better equipped to navigate changing regulations, consumer preferences, and societal expectations.
  • Market opportunities. Investors recognize the growing market opportunities in sustainable industries. As consumers and businesses prioritize sustainability, startups that offer ecofriendly solutions, renewable energy technologies, and other sustainable innovations present significant market potential.
  • Regulatory landscape. Governments around the world are increasingly implementing regulations to address environmental and social issues. Many business experts see why investing in companies that are compliant with existing regulations but well-positioned to adapt to future regulatory changes is prudent.
  • Competitive advantage. Companies that integrate sustainability into their business models often gain a competitive advantage. This can include cost savings through resource efficiency, access to new markets, and enhanced brand reputation, all contributing to long-term success.
  • Talent attraction and retention. Employees are increasingly seeking to work for companies that prioritize social and environmental responsibility. Business professionals should understand that startups with strong sustainability practices are better positioned to attract and retain top talent.
  • Long-term value creation. Sustainable business practices are typically aligned with long-term value creation. As an investor, I look for investments that provide short-term returns and also have the potential for sustained growth and impact over the long term.
  • Reputation and branding. Today most businesses acknowledge the significance of their reputation and brand. Investing in sustainable and socially responsible companies builds a positive image for VCs who do it well, attracting like-minded investors and partners.

Embracing Sustainability

Sustainability is now an essential component of long-term success and resilience for businesses and investors. As societal expectations change, smart business people are adjusting their strategies. Incorporating sustainability as part of everyday business helps companies become more profitable, improve customer trust, and ultimately create a better world.


This article was written by Anis Uzzaman from Inc. and was legally licensed through the DiveMarketplace by Industry Dive. Please direct all licensing questions to

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