Sustainability in Business: A Burden or an Opportunity

Published on
Jul 25, 2023
Contributed by

It's hard to ignore the constant conversation around sustainability and ESG goals in business. As CEO and founder of Flock Freight, I'm deeply aware of this dynamic conversation. Today, more than ever, companies are integrating sustainability into their strategies, acknowledging both the challenges and opportunities that it presents. A 2022 study showed that only 21 percent of business leaders see a clear case for sustainability in their business strategy. That lack of vision at the top can render commitments ineffective in any organization. When four out of five CEOs decide sustainability is bad for business, the outlook for meaningful private-sector climate action becomes bleak. Sustainability is not bad for business nor is it just about meeting rules and regulations. Sustainability is an open door to profitability and competitive advantage.


What is sustainability in business?

Sustainability in business means making choices that take into account their long-term impact on people, the economy, and the environment. Often, businesses see sustainability as a list of rules they have to follow. However, that view misses the full picture. At Flock Freight, we made the strategic decision to place sustainability at the heart of our mission, and this has proved pivotal in enhancing our enterprise value. It's not just about ticking boxes to meet consumer expectations; it's about the immense possibilities for differentiation and innovation that sustainability offers.Here are a few highlights from our recent impact report that show how we uphold sustainability as a core value at Flock:

  • further developed our sophisticated technology to pool freight at scale and lower CO2e emissions by up to 40%, reduce fuel waste, prevent product waste, and maximize trailer usage
  • signed The Climate Pledge: pledging to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040
  • became a mission-locked Public Benefit Corporation: protecting our purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide
  • achieved Certified B Corporation status: meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance as one of the few certified B Corps in the freight industry
  • purchased carbon credits that offset 35,000 metric tons of CO2e in 2022
  • ran all of our offices on 100% clean energy

Sustainability as a profitable opportunity.

Caring for the earth isn’t about choosing sustainability over profitability. It’s about rejecting a fixed mindset that forces unnecessary trade-offs between profits and sustainability. It’s about creating incremental solutions to build the world that we dream of and choosing to make sustainable business decisions that are both sustainable and profitable.Customers today care more about sustainability. Every day, consumers make decisions that reflect their values. They're choosing to support businesses that share their values, thereby driving sustainability from the bottom up. Sustainability in business is not just a challenge; it's a chance for us to do better business.The business world is in need of immediate solutions rather than additional reasons to fear the future. If the obstacle to sustainability is profitability, it's time to overcome that hurdle. We need integrated solutions that make our goals achievable.Flock Freight’s sustainable initiatives serve as evidence that this is attainable. In one of the most carbon-intensive sectors of the economy, notorious for its slow pace of modernization, we've managed to cut emissions by 40%. Our approach? Tackling the immediate problem at hand: 45% of truckloads ran half-empty in 2022. That’s a lot of wasted space and unnecessary carbon emissions. While businesses may not be able to afford replacing their diesel-burning trucks overnight, they certainly can avoid paying to ship air. These problems presented new opportunities to change the world by finding and filling a truck. Using our innovative solution, in 2022 our carbon-neutral freight movement saved over 34 thousand metric tons of carbon emissions — and we did it by saving shippers money and helping carriers earn more.

Sustainability as a competitive advantage.

Just as a strong business strategy sets a company apart in the market, sustainability offers a unique competitive edge. This edge comes from aligning with regulatory requirements, meeting consumer expectations, and taking advantage of the economic environment that encourages sustainable practices.Sustainability in business is not just expected; it's encouraged. By embracing sustainability, businesses can seize the opportunity to differentiate themselves and stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving landscape. We need to start seeing sustainability as a way to stay competitive in the long run.

The future of sustainability in business.

Sustainability is far from being a mere burden or compliance requirement — it's a profitable opportunity and a competitive advantage. The future of business is sustainable, and businesses that recognize this will not just be doing the right thing, they'll drive valuable, profitable products and services and stay competitive in the long run. The conversation around sustainability has shifted. The question is no longer “why should we adopt sustainability?” but “how can we afford not to?”At Flock Freight, we envision a future where we're larger, pooling more freight, and delivering ever-increasing carbon reduction to our customers. While our full 2022 Impact Report delves into our ESG impact progress thus far, we commit to do more. We want to help reduce not only our environmental impact but help other businesses do the same and to continuously implement opportunities for social progress.Want to join us? Request a demo to see how Flock can help give your business a sustainable advantage.