What is a Sustainability Consultant and how can they help your business?
6 Minute Read
Businesses hire consultants of all kinds when they need guidance, resources, and support with expert advice. Consultants have been around for ages, but a relatively new type is becoming more in demand by the second. Since you’ve already read the title of this blog post, you probably know I’m talking about a sustainability consultant.
What do sustainability consultants do?
In a nutshell, these consultants help companies incorporate sustainability into their business models. Whether it be for the company as a whole or a specific area, they can help develop sustainable initiatives, revenue streams, and products that satisfy eco-conscious consumers and entice new, loyal customers as well.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They can also guide you on sustainable packaging, product sourcing, and supply chains. And help you update your brand and message as it pertains to sustainability, connecting you to the right people to get that message out. And even if you’re not that into sustainability, the truth is…
Sustainability has become the new standard in corporate social responsibility.
“81 percent of millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship” (HUFFPOST). No longer can businesses write a check to a charity or non-profit to satisfy their annual give-back quota. Today’s increasingly eco-conscious consumers expect companies to incorporate social impact into their core mission. This means having those beliefs and ideologies baked into everything they do.
Think: TOMS, Warby Parker, and Everlane. All of these companies have very specific missions behind them. And they use business as a way to support that impact-driven vision. Now, not everyone is as passionate about social impact as these companies. But having a stance on sustainability is becoming a requirement for all businesses. And since most business owners aren’t sustainability experts, a sustainability consultant can help navigate the terrain and create an implementation plan. After all, you already have a ton on your plate.
What are the benefits of sustainability consulting?
With the right sustainability consultant, you can create your dream business—one that thrives and reflects your personal values, gives your customers exactly what they want, and encourages them to tread a little lighter on the earth.
Depending on your goals, sustainability consultants can show you how to shrink your business’ carbon footprint, lower energy bills, and reduce waste. They’ll do all of this while helping to cut costs, increase customer loyalty, and create more brand awareness. Plus, they can help identify ways to generate additional income, such as selling eco-conscious merch or creating customer incentives to get people in the door.
Hiring an expert to get the job done right is more crucial than ever.
“More than nine in ten millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause” and “66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand” (Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, Forbes).
Working with a sustainability consultant can provide a sounding board for ideas or initiatives you wanna add to your business. They’ll ensure those ideas are a good fit and show how they can scale in the future. They can also help you bake sustainability into your company’s everyday protocols, including administration, events, and marketing projects. All of this ensures that the company’s sustainability values are incorporated into all aspects of your business.
A sustainability consultant can ensure you get your message right.
It’s one thing to have sustainable initiatives behind your business. But ensuring the message is effectively communicated to your customers is a whole other beast. A consultant can help you educate your customers about your product/service and show them that it’s also a good decision for the planet. They can also help you revamp your messaging, and identify opportunities to intertwine it naturally into your brand voice.
What’s the added bonus? When you have sustainable practices backing your business, your company can be marketed as one that prides itself on the products/services customers feel safe using. That goes a long way with today’s consumers, who expect more from the businesses they choose to support.
They can connect you with the right people.
Let’s say you’ve got a sustainable product you’d like to start selling, but you’re not sure how to get the word out. A sustainability consultant can connect you with influencers and bloggers aligned with your mission. These people can get your product in front of the right customers, ultimately driving more sales. Likewise, they can connect you with sustainably-minded e-commerce websites and third-party sellers who can introduce your product to a wider audience. They have connections with a variety of people within the sustainable industry, and can connect you to those who will ensure your success.
Businesses know that sustainability is an increasingly important part of their business model, especially in keeping customers long-term. But they don’t necessarily have the expertise, bandwidth, or manpower to focus on them. They have enough on their plates in trying to turn a profit, manage their employees, and deliver the best product/service. While sustainability may be important to them, they have no idea where to start or how to implement a strategy. That’s why its best to hire a sustainability consultant to brainstorm ideas on how to incorporate sustainability into your business in a way that compliments your mission and best serves your customers.
A consultant will help you tackle the not-so-simple changes that’ll make existing customers fall in love with you all over again, all while opening you up to an entirely new base of eco-conscious consumers. By working from the inside-out, they’ll help you create a company ethos that shows the moment your customer walks in the door. And they’ll never forget how deserving you are of their hard-earned dollars.
At the end of the day, sustainability doesn’t just improve customer acquisition. It also strengthens your brand, ability to innovate, and your employees’ work ethic and commitment to your mission.
Now that you know a lil more about sustainability consulting, got any follow up questions you’d like to know?