How does solar-powered corporate social responsibility drive business revenue?
Is there a link between corporate social responsibility and revenue when you install a commercial solar system on your property?
In an earlier article, we discussed how going solar could enhance your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) image. By installing photovoltaic (PV) panels on your commercial property, you can demonstrate to your stakeholders that you take sustainability and environmental protection seriously. Instead of relying on fossil fuels, you’ve opted to power your business with clean and efficient solar power.
Will your green commitment make an impact on your bottom line? There are compelling arguments for and against the role CSR plays in generating sales:
- On the one hand, many consumers prefer supporting businesses that reduce their negative impact on the environment.
- On the other hand, customers often vote with their pocketbooks, choosing to buy whatever products or services offer the most value.
So which one is it? There is no doubt that customers will appreciate your sustainability efforts, but is there an actual link between solar-powered CSR and higher revenues? We believe so – and corporations agree. In research by Centrica Business Solutions, one quarter of respondents said that advanced energy solutions have not only improved their reputation but provided additional revenue too.1
Will going solar attract more customers?
The link between CSR and profits is well-documented. And it’s not simply customers that your solar PV installation will attract. Commercial solar energy can also help your business in other surprising ways:
1. Attract more customers and earn more sales
According to a 2017 international study by Unilever, a third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are committed to having a positive social and environmental impact.
The numbers are even higher in the United States, and data shows that the percentage is increasing year-over-year. 56% of consumers say they are willing to pay more to use environmentally-friendly (“green”) products, according to a 2017 study by GFK. This is an increase of 3% since 2010.
2. Recruit (and maintain) better talent
Making a positive environmental or social impact such as going solar may help you attract top talent. This form of CSR organization mindset makes it easier to retain employees as well. A 2017 study by Lightspeed revealed that a commitment to sustainability is a requirement for the next generation of workers. According to the research, nearly one in ten Millennials would quit their jobs if they found out their current employer was not sustainable. In addition, nine in ten Millennials believe it is important they work for a sustainable company, compared to 84% of Gen Xers and 77% of Baby Boomers.
3. Improve corporate performance
According to a 2015 study by Harvard University, CSR can increase overall company performance – especially as it relates to stock prices:
“Using calendar time portfolio stock return regressions we find that firms with good performance on material sustainability issues significantly outperform firms with poor performance on these issues, suggesting that investments in sustainability issues are shareholder-value enhancing.”
This isn’t so surprising when you realize stock performance is directly linked to a company’s ability to generate more sales, charge higher prices, and attract better workers.
Can solar CSR make you more profitable in other ways?
We’ve already discussed how installing solar PV panels can improve your bottom line. Going solar allows you to generate your own clean and efficient electricity onsite, rather than rely on expensive grid energy – lowering your operating expenses and allowing you to forecast energy spend.
As outlined above, your customers do care about your solar power investment. The same goes for employees and investors. But even without these well-documented benefits, commercial solar can improve profitability in other ways. For example, going solar provides many more opportunities to connect with stakeholders – even if you don’t have new products to announce. Your monthly and annual carbon savings are newsworthy updates worth publishing in periodic press releases.
Going solar also provides a way to differentiate your business – especially if you work in a highly competitive industry. In terms of price and quality, your products may be similar to your competitors. But with your solar power investment, you’re setting a cutting-edge example – one that immediately distinguishes you and provides a competitive advantage.
In research by Centrica Business Solutions, respondents agreed that organizations with established formal energy strategies aligned with their business priorities are more likely than their peers to be performing well against a range of key business measures; including financial performance and being customer-centric.1
Across all industries, businesses with advanced energy solutions – like solar – are experiencing these benefits. Learn how solar can boost business performance and yield a competitive edge. Schedule a free solar evaluation with our team today.
1Energy Advantage Research, Centrica Business Solutions. Statistics based on a six country survey of more than 1,000 energy decision-makers in large organizations.