Sustainability also leads to gains in efficiency that ultimately results in cost savings. Hospitals that invest between $100,000 and $1 million in saving energy, for example — things like HVAC upgrades and lighting retrofits — can cut energy use by up to 20%. Those that take a more comprehensive approach have the potential to save more than 30 percent on energy costs and see their profitability rise.

Sustainability makes a sound business case on a bigger level as well, in terms of risk management and business continuity. Climate change will likely impact all kinds of companies in the near future, whether it’s a Mexican tequila company facing a shortage of water or wheat producers enduring drought and wildfires. There are also extreme weather events, like Hurricane Sandy in 2012, to be prepared for. Committing to be more sustainable now can help brace for the challenges of the future. Companies who manage sustainability well are managing risk well and will be duly rewarded.

The business case for sustainability is no myth. It is real and can be measured in many direct and indirect ways. And while there are many companies out there who’ve made a real commitment to be sustainable and who are reaping the benefits from it, there are those who remain skeptical. That won’t be the case much longer: either they will see the benefits and make the shift — or be left behind.

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