Sustainable impact agency betternotstop support businesses to implement sustainable strategies and frameworks that give as much consideration to social and environmental impact as they do to financial returns. They told us why paying the real Living Wage forms a crucial part of any sustainability strategy.
Sustainability is the foundation of everything that betternotstop and its sister company The Better Business Network do. For a business to be truly sustainable it has to protect both the planet and the people on it; the very societies that we live in. This is why we believe that paying the real Living Wage, independently calculated to meet the cost of living, is a route to sustainability for all.
As a sustainability impact agency, betternotstop helps purpose-driven businesses to implement sustainable strategies and frameworks that give as much consideration to social and environmental impact as they do to financial returns.
We believe every business has the ability and responsibility to make the world better. This belief is what led to the founding of The Better Business Network; a community for like-minded businesses that want to create positive action.
Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources. Sustainability is not just environmentalism.
First of all, no one should be priced out of being able to protect the planet that they live on. When the eco-friendly choice in a supermarket is more expensive than the excess plastic packaging option, those on a lower income cannot be expected to bear that burden. It's simply not fair. Especially those who are working for the very organisations putting this pressure on consumers while paying their staff below the Living Wage.
If people cannot afford to help the planet, that is not their fault. Workers who are paid the Living Wage are then provided with more of a choice on what to spend their money on. This ensures that no one is ever too poor to protect the planet.
To go back to the idea of sustainability as being about more than a way of tackling climate change though, we need to think about what exactly this word means.
Sustainability means that something is able to be maintained at a certain rate or level. Businesses that do not pay the Living Wage cannot be considered sustainable in the long term. Paying lower wages will likely increase short term profits but won't provide a base for long-term sustainability. Whatever level they are at with regards to profitability, it cannot be maintained. It isn't sustainable.
Staff will come and go. They won't be incentivised to stay with a company that doesn't fairly pay them for their time and skills - certainly not if the company cannot even help them to meet their basic needs through a minimum wage.
Studies have shown that by increasing staff wages that productivity goes up and staff turnover goes down - both of which bring about an increase in profits for businesses. Alongside this, recent research shows that 78% of UK companies expect a focus on sustainability to result in a growth in sales.
If businesses begin to pay their staff the true Living Wage, then they will be letting the world know that they truly care about people and the planet. This in and of itself can have huge benefits for businesses. Consumers want businesses to do better, and will vote with their wallet. Sustainability is good for business.
More importantly, it's good for people.
Yes, the planet needs to be protected. But that's not going to be possible unless we look after people first.
Businesses have the responsibility to do this. They can and should do better. If workers' wellbeing is maintained then this will lead to a sustainable system for all.
Step one in achieving this? Paying the Real Living Wage. Become a Living Wage Employer today.