By ThePlanetMark Thursday, May 12, 2016
Innovation is a cornerstone of the low carbon economy. Here are six ways to scale up sustainable innovation in your business.
In 2015, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson were among those putting their names to a multi-billion-dollar initiative to fund new clean energy technologies. Meanwhile, 30% of sustainability professionals said sustainable innovation was the most exciting opportunity for their organisations over the next five years (Ethical Corp).
But sustainable innovation is not just the preserve of the big boys. Start-ups and SMEs are more often than not leading the charge. Chapters Financial, a chartered firm of financial planners and independent financial advisers, is an example of a UK SME scaling up sustainable innovation. Certified to The Planet Mark™ since 2011, the company has just been shortlisted in Investment Week’s Investment Marketing and Innovation Awards for the Corporate Social Responsibility Award.
So what’s stopping you?
Here are our six ways to scale up sustainable innovation in your business:
Keep your eye on the future – its important to be able to spot future trends. The good news is sustainability is likely to figure highly. But remember not be short sighted: make sure you’ve got your eye on future trends 5-10 years from now
Focus on the most impactful – Do an impact assessment of future trends against your business and those that are most likely to come about. Once you know this you can work out the opportunity to focus on for your business
Be disruptive – disruptive innovation can be riskier, but it can also bring the biggest rewards. Don’t give up and remember to be flexible. You may find the real opportunity lies outside of your marketplace, not within it
Communicate – it’s important to communicate closely with other departments in your business. Marketing and sales teams understand what the customer wants so get them involved
Consider funding – investing in innovation is often costly, but there is usually funding available especially for those areas that have been identified as future growth sectors. Get advice from funding experts. A good starting point in the UK is Innovate UK
Collaborate – since sustainability is so much about collaboration, it’s not surprising that great innovation can come from working with your supply chain, NGOs and even your competitors. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
For more on sustainable innovation, to read our case study from Chapters Financial and for more carbon cutting tips, download our free Practical Guide to Cutting Carbon Emissions.