You might be wondering what diversity has to do with sustainability, but it's actually one of the most important factors in building a sustainable business. Diverse teams are uniquely positioned to lead companies in addressing the environmental impacts of their business. Diversity and sustainability go hand in hand and here’s why:
Teams with one perspective can result in many blind spots when considering decisions that could have environmental consequences. Whilst many organisations focus solely on short-term economic gains at the expense of long-term sustainability, eco-friendly companies are more likely to be future focused. A team that is diverse and inclusive has a better understanding of different cultures and are more likely to consider the impact their decisions can have in regard to both short-term and long-term consequences. When a company has this type of culture in place, they’re less likely to ignore potential impacts like pollution or resource scarcity and make more eco-friendly, future focused decisions.
Innovation Is Key
Diversity leads to innovation and innovation is a key component of sustainability. It's been proven that diverse teams generate more original ideas, produce innovative solutions and find better ways to solve problems. This is because, the more diverse a team is, the less chance there is of groupthink and the more opportunity there is for innovation. Through including different viewpoints and experiences, your team can begin to address issues that are often ignored by non-diverse groups. The cognitive conflict from having diverse experiences on a team will ensure the members are thinking through all aspects of the problem, resulting in well thought through solutions. This innovation in turn leads to better productivity and financial returns as well as a greater ability to develop sustainable solutions.
Diverse Teams Are More Open To Change
One of the most challenging barriers to a company becoming eco-friendly is incorporating new practices into the everyday work life of employees. Introducing eco-friendly practices can sometimes be met with resistance, especially when an entire team has similar backgrounds and experiences. These teams often resist innovation and change because it doesn't fit the norm. The opposite tends to be true for more diverse teams. Because their experiences vary so widely, there is no one set way of doing things. This makes these groups more willing to try new things making it easier for eco-friendly practices to be incorporated into everyday work life.
It’s What Your Clients And Customers Seek
It’s no secret that people are becoming increasingly eco-conscious. Today's youth are more focused on diversity and sustainability more than any previous generation and their values will only become more widespread as time goes on. If your company doesn't reflect society, you'll be left behind. You need to reflect and understand your customers if you're going to stay relevant. Staying inside the echo chamber of your company headquarters—or in a network of people who look just like you—is one way to make sure that your blind spots prevent you from keeping up with the times. Fortunately, diverse teams excel in representing the needs of the market and can help a company better understand the needs of their customers. This allows businesses to design products and services that cater specifically to those needs whilst also reducing environmental impact for the eco-savvy customer.
It’s Great For The Bottom Line
It’s important to remember that having a diverse team isn't just good for the planet—it's good for business as well. According to McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to outperform their competitors. Moreover, companies with women in leadership roles see financial returns at least 15 percent higher than those without them. Businesses simply can't afford to ignore the benefits that come along with being diverse. In today's marketplace, keeping up with a rapidly changing society and meeting diverse customer needs is the best way to stay ahead of the competition. In short, diversity allows companies to grow, flourish, and thrive in the world’s fast-paced environment.
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