Environmental Issues, The Role of Businesses in Sustainability Initiatives


For a company to continue to develop sustainably, it is essential to create changes that will transform people’s lifestyles and values. To that end, we have explained the importance of addressing social issues. In this article, we would like to consider how companies should address the theme of environmental sustainability.

What are the three roles that companies should play in solving environmental problems?

The following are three roles that companies can play in creating a significant impact on the environment.

Role in solving environmental problems ①: As an Innovator

To create products that are environmentally friendly or save the environment. Innovation has a great impact because it is used globally in a long-term manner, but long-term development is risky and requires funding. Therefore, innovation of sustainable products must be at the core of a company’s raison d’etre (mission). 

DuPont is a great example of an innovator that has built sustainability into the core of its business model. The company promotes its mission of creating products that both alleviate environmental problems and prevent further harm to the planet by embedding them in the mindset of every employee.

Role in solving environmental problems ②: As an Investor

To fund research projects by innovators. While green business is not a core mission for investors, they share a vision of building a green and sustainable world. By funding them, we indirectly make a significant contribution.

Once a company indifferent to environmental issues, Wal-Mart’s reputation has improved significantly as a result of its commitment to social responsibility after revamping its business model by adopting environmentally friendly products and processes. Changes in one of the world’s largest companies such as Wal-Mart can have a significant impact because they lead to social change.

Role in solving environmental problems ③: As a Disseminator

To achieve differentiation and competitive advantage through an environmentally responsible business model in a relatively small company. The mission is to spread the value of protecting the planet to employees and customers and generate recommendations. Recommendations form a critical mass (a breaking point at which the adoption rate jumps dramatically), creating a ripple effect that spreads to more and more people.

Timberland, for example, piques the interest of its customers by communicating the environmental impact of its products and getting them involved in conservation efforts. The company also supports communities while promoting its values around the world through various programs.

Collaboration among innovators, investors, and disseminators to create a significant impact

It is important to note that all three of the above corporate roles can only create impactful synergies when they function and work together in the marketplace. The popularizer creates buzz in a niche market, and this buzz is used as a starting point for investors to raise public opinion and bring the green product to the mainstream market. Of course, innovators are essential because, without them, there would be no supply of innovative products.

Let’s look at an example of green marketing that specifically targets communities. The green market can be subdivided into the following four customer segments. Companies need to understand the mindset and behavior of each customer segment and then market appropriately to each.

 Trend-setting pioneer market people

They are the most important segment in the green product introduction phase. They are your first customers and influencers. Make the case for being green and get them to become advocates for your product.

② Value Seekers
 People in mainstream markets seeking value

They are flexible but reasonable. They are not willing to pay a premium just because it is green and will not be convinced if it is not cost-effective. Make a strong case for the fact that your product provides great value without impacting the environment.

Standard Matchers
 People in mainstream markets conforming to standards

They are conservative and will not purchase products that are not industry standard. To be chosen by them, you must reach critical mass.

④ Cautious Buyers
 Cautious People Missing the Trend

They are customers who are extremely skeptical and will not buy green products even if it is already common knowledge.

Other product life cycle processes include first using being green as a key differentiator during the introduction phase and asking for recommendations. Next, word-of-mouth marketing can be used to create a great reputation and reach the growth phase. During the growth phase, the company will spread its popularity while appealing to eco-efficiency. Furthermore, as competition increases once the product reaches the maturity stage, it is important to find differentiators other than being green.

Companies should consider which roles they can play in light of their business and work with others to strengthen the green market. To drive change, it is important to integrate environmental sustainability into your company’s values. Ultimately, this will result in benefits such as lower costs, improved credibility, and increased employee motivation, which will increase the value of your company to be chosen by customers.