Sustainable business trends you need to understand and take advantage of

Environmentally sustainable business practices are becoming increasingly mandatory, which will ultimately benefit not only the earth, but also company profits. Research, as quoted in the Guardian, shows that corporations actively managing and planning for climate change, secure an 18% higher return on investment than companies that aren’t and 67% higher than companies who refuse to disclose their carbon emissions. What sustainability practices are becoming modern business trends? We cite examples of companies that lead sustainable business trends.

A sustainable supply chain, as McDonald’s is ultimately aiming for, is one of the most important business trends geared towards environmental sustainability.

McDonald’s, the largest fast food chain in the world, has been criticised for harming the environment by clearing rainforests for cattle farms. Now, the company has turned over a more sustainable leaf, hoping to offset the negative effects of cattle farming by ensuring its supply chain is green and clean. The Guardian writes that McDonald’s won’t source commodities from peatlands or swampy areas that store a lot of carbon. The latter, when disturbed, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. McDonald’s currently works with its suppliers to ensure that the beef, poultry, coffee, palm-oil and fibre-based packaging it uses don’t contribute to deforestation.

Global beverage company, Diageo, has set a precedent for others to follow one of the top sustainable business trends: water efficiency.

Diageo hopes to improve its water efficiency by 50% by 2020 – a target which will be extended to the company’s supply chain. Diageo wants 100% of its wastewater from its operations to return to the environment safely. This means that water can be used twice or three times in other operations. Diageo’s Water Blueprint outlines how the company will protect and manage its water resources globally as the business expands in emerging markets. With a third of the corporation’s production located in water-stressed areas, the strategy has been expanded to encompass the company’s broader global supply chain.

Barloworld leads with the “circular economy” and impresses investors.

The World Economic Forum explains that the circular economy is an “industrial system that’s restorative or regenerative by intention or design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair re-use and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems and business models."

Barloworld’s sustainable business model is underpinned by the circular economy’s “refurbish, re-use or recycle” mantra. For example, the company recycles the majority of the materials that move through its operations’ supply chains – from cardboard and paper, to steel, plastic, polystyrene, glass and timber, electronic waste and organic waste (that can be turned into compost or biofuel). Barloworld, following this model, has set targets to improve energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company was an early signatory of South Africa’s Energy Efficiency Accord and to the South Africa’s National Business Initiative’s Energy Efficiency Pledge.

A green fleet makes business sense.

Like buildings, cars are one of the main contributors to global warming. How? Most cars are built with an internal combustion engine that mixes fuel with air in a combustion chamber. This mixture, when lit, emits energy and leaves behind water vapour, carbon dioxide, other gases and waste products. The car’s exhaust system vents these gases into the air from the tail pipe and they become part of the atmosphere.

Companies can follow sustainable business trends by procuring a green fleet. While there is still debate about the financial viability of green fleets over traditional fleets, there’s little doubt that greening aspects of a fleet makes business sense. A fleet management specialist however, needs to take procurement managers through the intricacies, establishing total life costs of the fleet. Avis Fleet’s “sweet spot” reporting capabilities offer the right vehicle, for the right time period and mileage, taking CO2 emissions into consideration.


New Call-to-action


Toll-Free Number

0800 540 740

Road Side Assistance

0800 117 686

Trade & Auction Centre

011 973 7300

Intelligent Fuel Bureau

031 466 2583

Accident Management

0800 033 002