20B — October 26 - November 8, 2018 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


O wners , D evelopers & M anagers

By Lisa R. Cassidy, ecoImagine Profits and Purpose: How “Doing Good” Can Be a Competitive Advantage


“business as usual” and take risks. The Business Case for Change There are a number of busi- ness models that enable compa- nies to balance sustainability and profitability. The first is the Cut Costs Business Model . In my experience, this is the easi- est model to incorporate and the most prevalent. Businesses who leverage sustainable prac- tices, like recycling and energy management, are rewarded with lower costs and increased profits. The secondmodel is the Raise Price Business Model . In this model, businesses charge a premium for adopting more sustainable business practices. If the customer values the sus- tainability effort, they are likely to pay more for the “same” good or service. We see a willingness to pay more for sustainably pro- duced products and services like coffee, tea, building materials and so on. The Increase Market Share Business Model re- wards first movers. When com- panies are first to incorporate sustainable business practices and remain price-competitive, they are likely to increase their market share compared to those who offer non-sustainable alter- natives. This is even possible in highly commoditized markets where margins are razor thin. Then there is the Entirely New Business Model . This model takes shape when com- panies disrupt the industry by developing new, sustain- able technologies, products or services to replace older, less sustainable alternatives. A prominent example of this is the creation of clean, renewable energy over fossil fuels. The Emotional Case for Change As we see through the above stated business models, there is definitely a business case for change. The real question becomes an emotional one. Do you have the courage and the passion to break away from “business as usual” and take a risk? “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.” —T.S. Eliot. For more informa- tion about sustainable business opportunities, visit ecoimagine. com. Lisa R. Cassidy is senior strategist and founder of ecoImagine. 

ustainability. Social con- sciousness. Upcycling. Pr e - c y c l i ng . Gl o ba l

education, equality and climate change (to name a few) more so than individuals - and faster than government. But even more importantly, businesses have a lot to gain financially. In today’s environment, en- dorsing and implementing sustainable business practices has a competitive advantage . Not only can it help you cut costs, increase market share and motivate the best people to work for you, it can propel your business to the top as a market leader. For the past few weeks, I have been taking a course in

sustainability through the Har- vard Business School. The main questions I had going into this course were – what does it mean for businesses to be sustain- able and what would it take to motivate businesses to operate sustainably? What I learned was 1) that the definition of sustainability is much broader than I expected and 2) profit- ability motivates businesses more than good intentions, but good intentions can lead to enormous success. According to Professor Re- becca Henderson of the Har- vard Business School, when a

business is motivated to "Do Well" a.k.a. make money and "Do Good" a.k.a. solve social and environmental problems, they create a “Shared Value Opportunity” – basically the intersection between the two. “Doing good” translates to such things as reclaiming waste, operating more effi- ciently, utilizing clean energy, reducing inequalities between people and offering fair wages, quality education and clean water. “Doing well” is about profitability. It requires deci- sive action and leadership to move away from the safety of

warming ver- sus climate change. What does it all re- a l l y me a n a n d w h y should you care? Well, a s a bus i - ness owner,

Lisa R. Cassidy

you are in a unique position. Businesses have the ability to tackle sustainability is- sues linked to consumption, waste, recycling, clean energy,

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