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September 21, 2021

Why Companies Should Prioritize Sustainability: Martin Rich of Future-Fit Foundation

Sustainability initiatives are arguably one of the most overlooked aspects of a business. Most companies don't consider it and mainly focus on making money. Martin Rich, Co-founder & Executive Director, Future-Fit Foundation, is extremely passionate about building sustainable businesses. In this article, he will talk about why companies should prioritize sustainability transformation.


Sustainability initiatives are arguably one of the most overlooked aspects of a business. Most companies don't consider it and mainly focus on making money. Martin Rich, Co-founder & Executive Director, Future-Fit Foundation, is extremely passionate about building sustainable businesses. In this article, he will talk about why companies should prioritize sustainability transformation. 

"Sustainability is not another thing to worry about. It is the very core of your business. You have to realize that the opposite of a sustainable business is an unsustainable business." - Martin Rich.

Martin's Journey

Before moving into the social impact space, Martin used to be in investment banking. He was doing risk management for big corporations, which he eventually found very unfulfilling. It was a passion that pushed Martin into another career path, as he wanted to make a difference in the world. To take all his financial knowledge and expertise and start using them for something more meaningful. He now works with companies to build social and environmental impact into their business models and helping investors to select the most promising Impact driven companies.

Why Prioritize Sustainability?

Most companies don't care about environmental issues or other sustainability initiatives, for that matter. But according to Martin, prioritizing sustainability efforts is all about de-risking yourself from potential harm and embedding true sustainability into the heart of your business. It's not a side project that companies should be doing, it should be their top priority.

What if a carbon or waste tax gets starts to get introduced? What if your clients are suddenly able to return all their products to you by law? These are all unknown factors that could affect your company in the future. And the fact of the matter is, no investor would want to invest in an unsustainable business. 

Sustainability efforts are all about future-proofing your business, even if you are someone who doesn't care about the people on the planet. Even if your sole focus is getting revenue out of your business. 

Start of Transformation

"Every portfolio has an impact. The things you are investing in are affecting people and the planet, in some good ways, and usually in a lot of bad ways at the same time." - Martin Rich. 

Martin found out that most companies around the world are struggling to understand where they need to get to. Many groups out there tell these companies what to do, but no one has painted a picture of what the company should look like when they achieve that goal of doing zero harm. 

This is where Martin's organization differs from everyone else. They provide the company with a comprehensive environmental and social roadmap for what they need to do to transform their business truly. It's all about where does the company needs to go? Where is it now? And they provide 23 sets of goals which the company must achieve to complete the transformation. 

Biggest Challenges

It's no surprise that the biggest challenge in these initiatives is the company's reluctance to change. They will always have a way of doing things, and they don't want to deviate from that. It will take more effort and cause inefficiencies if you introduce change; that's why companies are having a hard time embracing sustainability initiatives. 

Another factor is the lack of knowledge of what to do next and where to put the real efforts to attain change. Often, this hinders businesses from starting on this journey because they don't want to get stuck in the middle of something that they can't finish. 

Advice

Because sustainability should be a core focus of your business, Martin's advice is to just start on your journey. Don't try to do everything at once. Take the easy wins over the line and start working your way down. 

Partner with someone. It will make the journey more fun, and you will have someone that you can lean on when it gets tough. Having somebody else to help you think through problems will be a huge help and will increase your likelihood of success. 

"Avoid following the money. Follow your heart and follow the mission and find the money that will come with you." - Martin Rich.

Lastly, don't be in it for the money. Focus on your mission. When you start your journey, people might not see the big picture the way you do. It is crucial that you keep pushing and don't focus on the setbacks. 



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