Sustainability: Shifting from Buzzword to Profit Driver
Sustainable, green, environmentally friendly – these words have secured a legitimate foothold in the manufacturing sector. Companies seem to climb over each other boasting their corporate social responsibility initiatives from social media channels and product packaging alike. And corporations are willing to put their money where their mouths are.
$34 trillion says that investing in renewable ingredients like soy is worth it. That’s the sum of the world’s investment assets managed by signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), who take environmental issues into consideration when making investment decisions.1
Considering the collective investment power in play, corporations have proven more than willing to embrace sustainability initiatives. Nearly 75% of S&P 500 companies voluntarily publish corporate sustainability reports, touting their progress in areas such as carbon footprint reduction and water conservation.1
Modern consumers are right in step with investors. More than half of online purchasers across 60 countries say they would pay more for products offered by companies committed to positive environmental impacts. A 2014 Nielsen study found that companies promoting sustainable practices saw a 5% increase in annual sales, while those that did not include sustainability in marketing efforts only increased their sales 1%.2
With both investors and consumers asking for sustainable products, companies are eager to show their commitment to environmentally responsible practices. And perhaps the easiest step toward meeting self-imposed goals is for corporations to source sustainable ingredients and products from their suppliers and manufacturers.
U.S.-grown soy is an abundant, renewable, domestic resource produced by farmers compliant with the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol. Its oil can be used as a cleaner alternative to petroleum in myriad applications from coatings to rubbers and plastics to lubricants. Using such an ingredient is an easy win for companies pursuing sustainability initiatives.
Companies manufacturing industrial products need to look at performance and cost in order to stay competitive. But in many cases, soy ingredients perform as well as or better than their petroleum counterparts, and at competitive prices.
Typically, companies pursuing sustainable initiatives are forced to make tough tradeoffs. Decreasing carbon footprint may often times mean decreasing quality. With soy, however, companies have found the best of both worlds – enhanced performance and sustainable attributes.
Manufacturers must always consider how to make their products as attractive as possible. Everyone strives to make high-performance products at competitive cost, but those who help their customers meet goals important to their investors and consumers will find themselves with an edge over their competitors.
Manufacturers can learn more about using soy in products at www.soynewuses.com.
About the United Soybean Board (USB)
USB’s 73 farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.