In Australia, our cities struggle to provide the infrastructure required to eliminate congestion, improve transport systems, and fix ageing underground services.
At the same time, we also need new essential infrastructure, such as residential areas; better telecommunications services; increased renewable energy generation; better drinking water; and new railways, ports and roads. And we have to deal with all of these demands while minimising our impact on the environment and our contribution to climate change.
This presents a major challenge to the infrastructure industry and the greater business industry in general. On one hand, businesses must maximise value for money, while on the other, try to realise positive social and environmental outcomes. To address this dual challenge, and strike a balance between the good of the public and of business, the idea of infrastructure sustainability comes into play. While adopting sustainability for your business may seem like a daunting and expensive task, the following are just a few ways you could benefit.
Improved image and reputation
By taking on sustainability initiatives, you stand to gain much when it comes to how your brand is perceived. Sustainability-based reputation is essentially built by positive performance in community relations, workforce management and management of emissions, pollution and waste. By taking initiative in those ways, you show that your organisation is committed to social and environmental responsibility, which will enhance your corporate reputation and inevitably improve your profits.
Failing to demonstrate social and environmental responsibility through your business actions — or worse, claiming to do so when you're not — is a sure way to actively damage your credibility and reputation.
Better ability to attract and retain quality employees
More and more, businesses are starting to recognise that the capabilities, commitment and interpersonal skills of employees are one of their biggest assets. Therefore, the ability to attract, retain and develop employees has become a core business objective. It has been found that modern employees are seeking work that has wider meaning, and that has a positive impact on the broader community and society. By committing your organisation to sustainability, you will be able to develop a strong, dedicated workforce.
Minimise costs and cost inefficiencies
While you may think that sustainability measures will increase your costs, in the long run they will actually help you save money. To get the highest level of savings, you must commit to sustainability objectives from the outset of a project, and integrate the principles throughout design, construction and operation phases.
For example, more sustainable machinery and equipment use energy and water more efficiently and help to reduce waste. Not only that, but using technology like computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) software will help ensure all your machines are running as efficiently as possible, helping you avoid costly repairs and equipment replacement.
Increases revenue from new sources and improved market share
Dedicating your business to sustainability practices offers plenty of opportunity to increase your revenue through improved market share, new sources of revenue, and even enhanced pricing power. For example, by having innovative "green" and socially respected products, processes and management techniques, your organisation will be able to penetrate new sectors, enhance market share, bring in new products and ask for a premium price. Increased price premiums are also directly related to your company's reputation and brand strength.
Mentioned here are only a few of the benefits that adopting sustainable business practices will bring to your organisation. By doing so, your business will not only thrive, but you can also feel good knowing that you are fulfilling your duties toward your community and the environment.