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Why should businesses care about employees, consumers, and the environment?

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By Yury Erofeev

· 8 min read

This comprehensive report dives into the significance of sustainability, employee welfare, and consumer relations for modern businesses. Drawing on research, the document emphasizes how eco-friendliness, employee care, and consumer quality of life can bolster a company's reputation and profitability. It explores the roles of technology and sustainable development, emphasizing a systematic, step-by-step approach to implementing such strategies.

According to a KPMG report, 80% of large companies are strategically planning their sustainability. UN Global Compact (UN’s international initiative for business) and the consulting company Accenture identified among its main goals: stable economic growth, decent working conditions, responsible consumption, and production, and combating climate change.

Why modern business needs to invest in caring for employees, consumers, and the environment, and what is the role of technology in these processes?

Eco-projects and biosecurity, transparent production, decent working conditions, charity, and so on — all these points are gradually becoming mandatory in a business strategy, as they allow you to create a positive image of a company that is trusted by customers and investors.

Brands respond to consumer demands with a conscious approach to their activities — their impact. The concept of sustainable development proposed by the UN includes 17 goals. A business can choose for itself the direction that intersects with its interests and capabilities.


P&G and Ipsos Comcon found that 55% of shoppers are interested in how environmentally friendly the company is and whether its employees follow hygiene standards. Futerra’s research in the US and UK showed that 88% of consumers prefer companies that care about the environment and hygiene in their production. Businesses are listening to their consumers and increasingly putting sustainability into the DNA of a brand.

It becomes a promising idea to invest in Business Intelligence, automated analytics of environmental performance, and biosafety when a sustainable development graph is built by a neural network based on key positions in real-time and with trending, visualization of instant and delayed customer response to initiatives.

The system offers ready-made solutions and based on the metric, predicts their consequences.

The most important item on the company’s environmental agenda is saving natural resources and energy efficiency: installing economical lamps or using solar panels where the climate allows it; water treatment plants for medium and large industries, the transition to a closed water cycle; switching to cleaner fuels.

For example, TDF, or tire recycling fuel, is highly efficient and has low smoke and carbon dioxide emissions. A reasonable savings strategy depends on the nature of production, but in any case, positioning as an eco-friendly company allows not only increases brand loyalty but also reduces costs.

A promising global trend is the provision of tax incentives to companies that care about the environment. Optimized logistics will help reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere during transportation.

To create an eco-brand image and maintain consumer confidence, a well-thought-out set of measures is needed. For example, Mi&Co, an organic cosmetics company, has been following a sustainable development agenda since its inception.

Its initiatives include external audiences, employees, suppliers, and partners. The main direction is a reasonable and careful attitude to the environment. In particular, safe testing of products, environmental friendliness of goods, and their packaging saving resources.

Pollution of the planet with plastic and other waste is one of the most pressing environmental problems. Waste recycling can significantly reduce the carbon footprint and reduce the level of pollution in the biosphere. A business of absolutely any size can support recycling.

Here are just a few ways

  • motivate employees to sort waste
  • send used batteries, electronics, and cartridges for recycling
  • use recycled raw materials in their production
  • accept end-of-life goods of your profile (and not only) from consumers and send them for processing
  • purchase consumables from recycled material
  • make the packaging of their products environmentally friendly (reduce the amount of plastic, reduce the consumption of materials, provide for the possibility of recycling, and so on). Appropriate labeling on the product will increase consumer loyalty
  • and rationally dispose of production waste: send it for processing, sell, and dispose of. If it is impossible to do it yourself, you can use the service for the export of raw materials to the sorting center.

Fintech services, in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic, refuse to use physical cards and go digital.

Recycling plastic waste (such as bottle caps) as an additional source of income and cost reduction is available even for small and micro-enterprises. This is sustainable social media storytelling and a good competitive advantage at a low cost.

Equipment for turning small waste (such as milling cuts and shavings from billboards and panels) into wire for 3d printers or new plastic sheets is available, does not take up space but fights back in one to two years of light use.

On average, 50% of the purchased material for plastic milling goes into trimming, the equipment can work autonomously, without additional jobs. After installing an internal waste recycling system, the cost of purchasing material will be reduced by about a third.

Companies also develop social projects, providing material or informational support to solve environmental problems. For example, PicsArt helps bring awareness to Earth Hour. In the photo editor application, you can find a lot of themed stickers, backgrounds, and templates for posts and stories about ecology.

With their help, activists, other companies, and any user can talk about the problem and social responsibility, saving time and money on design.

In the business environment, the concept of “impact” is gaining weight — from the English impact, “influence, the trace of activity.” Impact entrepreneurs in their projects are looking for a balance between making a profit and benefiting society. An infrastructure is being formed around them — impact investors and accelerators are emerging.

Employee care

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted another important topic — the health of employees. According to Aetna, the demand for corporate well-being programs has increased in 2021. Companies are reacting to the trend, including with the help of machine learning technologies, augmented reality, as well as new production technologies.

This is especially important for food companies — and the world’s largest manufacturers are setting trends.

Due to professional burnout and a drop in immunity, the atmosphere within the team requires constant attention from management. For example, there are innovations that reduce general anxiety. For example, PicsArt made the working day flexible and introduced a collective day off for employees.

In IT and digital companies, now the office is used at will, and in the coworking format, all other work is done remotely, which increases the work-life balance and reduces costs.

A business can expand its social package and take care of the health of employees by paying for fitness and medical insurance, organizing outdoor activities, and participating in local sports initiatives. In any case, the fashion for a healthy lifestyle and well-being and the priorities that have changed during the pandemic dictate new rules for business relations with employees.

Consumer quality of life

Improving the quality of life of the population is what, in the opinion of consumers, both corporations and the state should do. Business is included in this agenda, introduces, and supports special programs and initiatives. Business is also involved in supporting the population in more traditional ways.

Participation in charitable initiatives and fundraising can afford even small companies. In addition to social significance, such costs bring good reputational dividends with proper coverage in the company’s social networks and other media.


It is not necessary to radically restructure the entire business. To begin with, it is necessary to analyze the current state of affairs in the company for compliance with the principles of sustainable development. This can be done both independently and with the help of consultants.

As with any initiative, it’s important to develop a long-term plan and then break it down into understandable, simple steps — ditch plastic tableware in the office, hire a corporate psychologist for employees, or replace some of the raw materials in production with more environmentally friendly alternatives.

The main thing is to do what you say.

If something is prohibited, an alternative must be provided. In the age of social media, it’s getting harder and harder to hide anything. A great example is last year’s H&M recycling scandal. Or the unpleasant truth that was revealed about the massive regular destruction of goods in Amazon warehouses.

The consequences in such cases can be severe — according to Deloitte, a regulatory breach or a reputational scandal can cut a company’s revenue by a third. Brand reputation is new capital; maximum openness is a trend of the 2020s, which determined the fashion for open kitchens in public catering, industrial tourism, and online broadcasts from factories on social networks.

Most importantly, a common ecosystem of measures, chaotic and ill-conceived trend following will only make companies worse, all the mentioned solutions should be included in a single step-by-step plan. Only in this way will development be sustainable, predictable, and systematic.

Future Thought Leaders is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of rising Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

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About the author

Yury Erofeev is a Business Analyst at SQUAKE, utilizing a solid foundation in Physics, Mathematics, and Sustainable Development to drive meaningful industry changes through data-driven decision-making.

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