Beyond Profit: The Multiple Benefits of Prioritising Sustainable Business Practices

By Daxita Rajcoomar, Chief Sustainability Officer, ENGIE AMEA.

Sustainable business practices are no longer an option for companies that want to succeed in the long-term. In the face of growing global challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity, and social inequality, companies that prioritise sustainability can gain not only a competitive advantage, but further ensure their future success.

As a global energy and services company, ENGIE is committed to accelerating the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by promoting sustainable energy solutions and helping governments and businesses in their journey to decarbonization. Risks related to climate change and overexploitation of natural resources are key concerns for our business and ultimately the resilience of our activities. There are several key benefits to sustainable business practices, and we’ve adopted a number of them in our own approach to sustainability.

Cost Savings

One of the most immediate benefits of sustainable business practices is cost savings. By reducing energy consumption and waste generation, companies can cut costs and improve their bottom line. For example, by adopting energy-efficient practices such as LED lighting, smart building systems, and renewable energy sources, companies can significantly reduce their energy bills and improve their environmental performance. Similarly, by reducing waste and implementing circular economy principles, companies can reduce disposal costs, generate new revenue streams from recycled materials, and enhance their brand reputation. As a company, we work with a range of partners to achieve improved levels of sustainability and cost savings on challenges such as wastewater treatment, recycling waste, and reducing the use of fossil fuels. For example, in Saudi Arabia, we partnered with the Medical City of King Saud University (MCKSU) to retrofit ventilation and air conditioning systems, lighting, and implement various smart solutions, all of which have resulted in 30,000 tonnes of emissions being avoided annually.

Improved Reputation

In today’s highly connected world, reputation is everything. Companies that prioritise sustainability can build trust and loyalty with their key stakeholders including customers, investors, and employees, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. In an age when prospective employees, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, are increasingly looking to work for companies committed to the common good, companies wanting to win the war for talent must have a positive impact.

An approach that has been central to our success is how we tackle stakeholder dialogue. It’s a corner stone of our project management strategy, particularly in the context of the launch of new offers or new projects. Our structured approach ensures that we promote listening and awareness while creating sustainable and shared value together with our stakeholders, and that we measure and track the socio-economic impact of our work overtime. 

Increased Innovation

Sustainability can also drive innovation and help companies stay ahead of the curve. By operating sustainably, a business can identify new opportunities for growth and develop new products and services that meet changing consumer needs. For our Middle East division, our circular economy solutions are aimed at creating value from waste by reusing and recycling materials, which not only reduces waste and production costs, but also conserves natural resources. Other activities include the reuse of organic waste, management of the end-of-life of materials, and sustainable use of resources. 

Reduced Risk

Sustainability can also help organisations reduce their exposure to risks and uncertainties. By adopting sustainable business practices, companies can anticipate and mitigate potential risks such as supply chain disruptions, regulatory changes, and reputational damage, which are growing concerns in today’s global economy. Implementing a range of measures to manage environmental and social risks, including a dedicated sustainability department, an ethics and compliance program, and a human rights policy is something we have developed. We also work closely with our suppliers to ensure they adhere to high sustainability standards, and we have developed a responsible purchasing policy to guide our procurement decisions, to ensure fair treatment, punctuality of payments, health and safety, ethics, and more. 

Future Proofing

Finally, sustainable business practices can help companies’ future-proof their business and adapt to changing market conditions. By adopting a long-term perspective and anticipating future challenges, companies can position themselves for success in a rapidly changing world. As an organisation we are committed to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and have aligned our strategy with the transition to a low-carbon economy. In addition, we are working to build resilient and sustainable communities through our social impact initiatives, which include projects to improve access to energy, water, and sanitation in developing countries.

Overall, sustainable business practices are fundamental for enduring success. Prioritising sustainability can lower costs, enhance reputation, spur innovation, mitigate risks, and ensure future resilience. Committing to building a sustainable future, leads the way towards a greener, more equitable, and prosperous world.