6 6 Selfish Reasons To Be Sustainable
Last year the top billionaires made so much money they could end extreme poverty seven times over!
Some of these uber rich, like Bill Gates, and selflessly giving away their fortune to amazing causes but there are also many more, like Jeff Bezos, who continue to put profit over wellbeing. Bezos is currently the richest man in the world, but somehow Amazon managed to pay zero federal tax in 2018, money which could have gone to improving the lives of others.
However, for people like Bezos, there are actually some pretty good selfish reasons to invest in sustainability, ones which could benefit their company and wallet.
If you’re not sure what sustainability then check out this post first – What Is Sustainability?
So if you’re a bit more of a Bezos than a Gates here are 6 selfish reasons you should be sustainable ;
1. Happier Productive Workers
But enforcing fair taxation, focusing on long-term growth rather than short term gains, by distributing profits within the company better instead of focusing on shareholder returns, companies are able to afford to pay their workers better. In turn, the workers feel happier, more valued and work harder.
2. More Customers & Customers Who Pay More
These happier companies can then also enjoy more substantial sales. A study by Unilever revealed a third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. An additional survey by The Global Sustainability Report revealed that 66% of consumers are also willing to pay more for sustainable products which could create a €966 billion opportunity for more sustainably driven companies.
2. Less Disease
Many of the worlds worse infectious diseases still residue in the least developt nations, with new strains emerging each year. As global travel increases and becomes easier, there is also an increased risk of these diseases rapidly spreading into more developt countries, including your own. However, by invest in sustainability, developing regions will be able to quickly detect and treat these diseases before they get the chance to go global. Gaining control over these devastating diseases can also open up more of the world to tourism, allowing you to take that beautiful vacation without the risk of catching Ebola or Malaria.
3. Reduced Immigration
With Brixit and Trump, there’s so much talk over immigration and people being concerned over their own security and access to work. However, most of these immigrants don’t want to leave their homes, they have to, they are forced to through famine or conflict. So by improving their lives at home, creating a more stable and sustainable environment, the immigration rates will drastically decrease, meaning a lot more demand for labour and more jobs on offer.
4 Less Crime
Sustainable inclusive societies where everyone has equal access to education and healthcare have low crime rates. Some families though simply can’t afford to stay in school, either tuition is too expensive, or they need to stay home and work to provide for the family. Less fortunate kids, therefore, can’t complete college and on top will be left with huge debt they cannot repay. Some of these unlucky uneducated kids turn to crime and up in jail never getting a real chance at life, worsening their conditions further. However, if we shift our attention away from locking up young men to educating young children, we could experience a considerable decrease in crime and a massive increase in productivity and wellbeing of society. Developing minds which could end up helping us solve the difficult issues we face today.
5. Less War
Nobody (that I know) wants to live in an age of conflict and war, however, if we continue with the business, as usual, we might just end up there. Unsustainable economic growth is dangerous, not only because of its environmental impact but because it creates large gaps in wealth leading to large gaps in power. Assumptions can then be made about a society based on their economic status, that their power is a reflection of superiority, be it religious, race or culture. As a consequence, this can cause conflict and in the past has justified racism, slavery and colonial rule. Unsustainable economic growth also affects the most vulnerable first. Climate change is starting to put increasing pressure on developing nations such as Sub Sharan Africa and the Middle East, areas that already see conflict could worsen as the dispute continues over increasingly limited resources.
6. More Trade & Better Products
Investing in developing nations helps create economies that produce innovative products. Take ‘Made in China’ for example, how many of the things you use today have this label? Your iPhone for one. As a consequence of its recent economic growth, China has dramatically decreased its poverty levels, from 88% in 1981 to only 6.5% in 2012, and they aim to end all national poverty by 2020. China still has a long way to go, but it is making its first steps. As they gain access to improved health care and education they create a more productive society who are ready to take on the challenges of sustainability. China is already the leading production market for solar cells and energy saving light bulbs.
6. It Just Makes You Feel Good
And finally, caring and investing in sustainability just might put a smile on your face and make you feel good. Research has shown that “engaging in morally good behaviour can foster positive self-concept. As a result, acting ‘green’ may exert a positive influence on the self-concept, allowing people to feel good”
So whatever your motive is, everyone can benefit from moving towards a more sustainable future.
Thanks for reading, if you have any questions let me know in a comment below!
Sachs, Jeffrey (2015). Introduction to Sustainable Development. In The Age of Sustainable Development. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.