By Matt Kerr, Account Director, Seventy7

It would be an understatement to say that the COVID pandemic has been tough for people and businesses across the globe. And although the last 10 months have been unbelievably tough, there have been some small victories that we can learn from in terms of how we treat the world around us. While we know that individuals can make an impact (no matter how small), it’s businesses and organisations that can make the biggest strides in affecting the world around them.

Among all the ‘nature is healing’ jokes that were being talked about during March and April of last year – Venice’s canals were famously the clearest they’d been for years – there’s an enormous lesson to take from this. We should all be looking into how we can affect the planet positively through sustainable business measures.

With the USA rejoining the Paris agreement, this signals a huge shift in how the world’s biggest countries are looking into keeping Mother Earth happy, and all business should follow. It can be summed up through something as simple as a mission statement (as long as the proof is there that your company is committed to sustainability). Here are some of my favourites:

Patagonia – “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”

Lucy & Yak – “The system is whatever we all decide to make it, so let’s make a system where everyone wins”

There are plenty of examples of brands and companies that get it right, with mantras that put sustainability first. Businesses that choose to be purpose-driven are more likely to see more success thanks to them going down the path of corporate social responsibility.

With the climate clock ticking away in the foreground, the onus is on businesses to lead by example. This 2019 report by Deloitte shows that 93% of business leaders believe that companies are more than just employers, but that they are stewards of society. Be the change that you want to see in the world around you.

You shouldn’t fear the change that comes with committing to sustainability, your customers are way more receptive to planet-friendly companies than you’d think. A 2019 survey even showed that 47% of online customers stopped buying from businesses that didn’t uphold their values, with environmentalism being the number one reason for making the switch!

At seventy7, we’re able to commit to a more sustainable future thanks to the practices we implement in our everyday work. Our Manchester and London studios offer us a base from where we can make those small changes. Our dynamic studio means that we’re often able to eliminate the need for location shoots thanks to our talented set builders.

We’ve also committed to lowering our energy and paper waste in our building wherever possible, and are committed to constantly progressing and improving that effort when our team is back and fully operational at their desks.

The pandemic has also given us a chance to influence our clients towards a more sustainable business model. We’ve helped major brands make the leap from paper to fully digital without losing any value (or benefits) for their customers thanks to the experience and skillset of our multi-channel creative team.

Championing local (and sustainable) companies has always been important to us, so it was a pleasure to be able to work with Alderley Edge’s Ocean Refresh on a recent ecommerce shoot. Their innovative footwear is made from recycled ocean plastic, an important cause that’s magnified when you realise that 91% of all plastic isn’t recycled. These are relatively small steps that make a huge impact.

The benefits of going sustainable far outweigh the costs. Here are my three main reasons for making those changes:

Creativity and environmentalism go hand-in-hand

Making the switch towards sustainability doesn’t mean that creativity has to stop either. In fact, environmentalism in businesses means that innovation is at the forefront of the manufacturing, technology, fashion and retail sectors, and means that new markets are constantly being created.

You’ll attract the best young minds

There hasn’t been an age group more in tune with sustainability than this current one. If you want to attract the best possible talent and retain them in your business, they want to see that you’re committed to change.

Change is inevitable, don’t be caught out

We don’t know what the next big changes are in any of our sectors, but by being at the forefront of sustainability it shows that our businesses can adapt to a rapidly changing world. Future-proofing can apply to the world around us as much as within the four walls of your company. We only have one planet, let’s make sure that the next generations can enjoy it.

The road to 100% sustainability is a long one, but it’ll be worth it in the end, I promise.