The sixth Sales Trend for 2014 is ‘Low-carbon economy sales opportunities’.
Despite many governments lagging behind in terms of creating and endorsing low-carbon policies and industries, forward-thinking organisations are taking the lead on creating low/no-carbon businesses and partnering with each other. And it’s not just big business – there is a growing number of SMEs driving change too.
Rather than only focusing on the cost of creating a low-carbon economy, this sales trend is seeing smart companies and communities looking and acting on the abundance of opportunities within new and existing markets. Smart companies see potential in its many forms. There are massive opportunities for innovation and product/service development in a low-carbon economy as well as social evolution.
For instance, the UK sees SMEs as a key source of technology innovation and a driver of UK competitiveness. SMEs are central to driving innovation, growth, and job creation. They are seeing a bullish new breed of businesses emerging with the next generation of low-carbon entrepreneurs. Low-carbon enterprise is mainstreaming across the UK with exports almost twice as likely for low carbon SMEs.
A focal point with vast prospects for greater European Union (EU) cooperation is the transition to a low-carbon future, particularly in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. The EU has chosen this path to stimulate economic growth, ensure energy security and reengage citizens. Greener business models and support for clean tech and green, low-carbon SMEs are an integral part of the EU’s approach.
More organisations are also assessing their business partners in relation to low carbon emissions. Low-carbon or carbon-neutral companies are mindful of their carbon footprint and try to do business with other low-carbon or carbon-neutral companies. Many companies have voluntarily set up carbon emission targets (locally or globally) so would be reluctant to acquire services from big emitters.
Smart companies are seeing it as good business, not just good ethics, to reduce their emissions and develop products and services that will help the consumers reduce their carbon footprint by acquiring or using those products and services. They are finding also that being carbon neutral dramatically improves employee engagement.
Research presented at the Sustainable Brands London Conference in November 2013 (SB London conference) revealed that many of the world’s consumers are laying the responsibility of solving global environmental issues at the door of businesses.
Act now or else
Interestingly, the longer we leave our adoption of low/no-carbon business models the more it will hurt businesses, communities and countries as developing nations are likely to leap frog ‘developed’ nations in the race for a sustainable future. This could leave many in the Western world behind.
Developing and implementing a sustainability strategy is now a matter of staying in business for the long run. There is no longer the possibility of operating without considering the people and the planet, together with profits. It’s the way to run a business to keep operating for generations to come.
Remember everybody lives by selling something.
Sue Barrett is founder and CEO of www.barrett.com.au and www.salesessentials.com and has written 21 e-books and 500+ articles on the world of 21st Century Selling. Sue and her team partner with companies to improve their sales operations and provide sales consulting, training, coaching and assessments.