What small companies can learn from corporates

Key sustainability principles small business can learn from large corporates in the travel industry

April 6, 2021

Operating as a large corporation undeniably has its setbacks. Multi-layered departments may take a long time to move forward, communication between teams can be challenging and innovative ideas can often disappear. However, there are many things large corporations have cracked, hence their size and success.

Guest experience and reputation are among top reasons why large businesses focus on sustainability. Building a loyal customer base is important for future success and growth. Guests, especially the younger generations, are looking for local businesses with a compelling story and products that reflect their values and beliefs. While guests are used to large, established brands, a small hotel with a strong sustainability story is highly likely to attract the modern consumer.

So what are the key sustainability principles small business can learn from their large siblings in the travel industry? And, more importantly, can they even leapfrog them?

1. Show me your sustainability!

Large investors and pension funds need to diversify away from systemic risks, and they increasingly consider the environmental and social impacts of their portfolio. For this reason, large corporates take time and effort to report on their sustainability commitments and successes. Showing that you have a clear sustainability agenda and that your company seeks to make a difference, could attract the right investors for your business. And when it comes to financing, banks and financial institutions also check your business’ sustainability strategy; it simply indicates a way of future-proofing your business. It pays to be sustainable!

2. Attract and retain the right employees

People want to work for companies whose values reflect their own and businesses also strive from working with like-minded employees. Being sustainable nurtures personal values and makes it easier for businesses to attract and retain passionate employees who will want to make a difference. A recent survey from Deloitte found that the majority of millennials agree it’s important for businesses to behave in an ethical manner and 76% believe that businesses have the power to make a difference. Don’t lag behind, take the opportunity and use sustainability to attract your future workforce.

3. Embed sustainability into sourcing

Large corporations recognise that sustainable procurement plays a leading role in managing resources, improving efficiency and reducing costs. Many environmentally friendly products are competitive in terms of quality, while costing the same or even less than their traditional alternatives, over the life of the product. Many of these products also use less energy, water and other resources during use, further reducing operational cost. In addition to the long-term financial benefits, most guests now expect businesses to act responsibly and to look after the environment, including their supply chains.

Large firms may have the advantage of being more established and have greater access to funding, but being a small business has many advantages too. They are nimble and better able to adapt to change. They are closer to their customers and in a better position to react to feedback by shifting gears faster than large organisations. Use these behaviours to your advantage and learn from large corporates on how to execute successful sustainability programs.

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Jenefer Bobbin
Jenefer Bobbin
Anett Kiss
Anett Kiss
Anett is sustainability professional, based in the UK, with over 10 years of experience from various industries, such as finance, media and aviation. In the last 5+ years she has been working in the hospitality sector at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) where she has been working with hotels and suppliers to reduce the company’s environment impact and improve guest experience through finding sustainable alternatives. Anett has a true passion for sustainable tourism and preserving the natural beauty of the places we visit.

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