More and more people are demanding from businesses a responsible approach to the environment and the planet. According to the study of Harvard Business Review of 2019, as many as 65% of interviewees wish to buy goods and to associate themselves with brands that seek sustainability in their businesses. In the context of a global pandemic, sustainability is becoming even more important.
For a long time, sustainability was associated with paper bags in the store, eco-friendly detergent, or energy-saving light bulbs. Today, however, sustainability is becoming pivotal to businesses for developing their products, development plans or social responsibility policies. As global economies attempt to rebound from the COVID-19 challenge, the "green" recovery becomes a topic of increasing importance.
Sustainability will be demanded by customers, employees, and investors
Dovilė Grigienė, the Chief Executive Officer at Swedbank Lithuania, states that the importance of sustainability for today's businesses is more obvious than ever.
"Sustainable innovations for businesses are currently becoming a major topic. Orientation towards sustainability can help to attract additional investments, as ambitious EU sustainability goals imply that a significant part of investments will be directed solely to sustainable activities. A similar sentiment arises among private investors as well. In addition, there is more and more talk about a sustainable recovery from the global pandemic, thus the importance of sustainability will only increase," says the CEO of Swedbank Lithuania.
According to her, for companies looking for additional reasons to create a sustainable business, there are as many as 5 million of them. It is a rough number of young people that took part in the global protest actions of G.Thunberg's Fridays for Future.
"These active and conscious young people are the future customers and employees. When choosing services or jobs, they will be looking at the environmental impact of the company for sure", - says D. Grigienė.
These sustainability-conscious people are not only consumers but also developers who are gradually coming into business by creating start-ups and setting up companies. For B2B, sustainability is a significant factor to start or to cease cooperation. Companies that seek sustainability in their activities often choose similar partners.
First Sustainability Accelerator in Lithuania for business
Šarūnė Smalakytė, head of the FinTech and Sustainable Innovation hub ROCKIT, says that given the increasing importance of sustainability for people and businesses, together with Katalista Ventures they launch ROCKIT Impact Accelerator in September. It is an intensive program focused on the growth of sustainable startups.
"Startups are unique as they are full of idealism, in addition to their ideas and determination. Enthusiastic teams are determined to run their businesses in a sustainable manner from the very beginning. It is true that when the team is already busy with developing their idea and starting a product as well as attracting investors, sustainable working methods can prove to be another difficult concern. However, inspiration can then be sought through partnerships with successful sustainable market leaders. That's what ROCKIT Impact Accelerator is for," says Š. Smalakytė.
During the programme, companies promoting a sustainable approach to business will join their forces and share their experiences to help six new sustainable startups to grow.
"We want to encourage startups to take care of sustainability from their outset. That is why we have contributed to the first such business initiative in Lithuania, which will allow us to focus on targeted startup partnerships with market leaders", – says the CEO of Swedbank Lithuania D. Grigienė.
According to Martynas Giga, CEO of one of the project partners Elektrum Lietuva, the company has a lot of good practice and is willing to share it with the participants of ROCKIT Impact Accelerator.
"In our business, we generate 50 percent of electricity using renewable sources. We believe that clean electricity is one of the essential indicators of every person's quality life. As an energy producer and supplier, we feel a responsibility and do our best that modern technologies and innovations significantly contribute towards sustainable development goals, both global and Lithuanian ones", - says M. Giga.
6 start-ups are sought for the first accelerator
The search for 6 experienced startups willing to contribute to the sustainability challenges of the business is now underway. It is they who will participate in an intensive four-month programme. ROCKIT Impact Accelerator will bring such startups closer to business and help them find the most suitable partners.
Startups that wish to apply sustainability principles in their activities, as well as need partnership and business cooperation to grow, are welcomed to contact ROCKIT Impact Accelerator team.