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Young Enterprise Speaking Competition

The Young Enterprise Kent Public Speaking Competition aims to develop and celebrate essential business communication skills amongst those students participating in Young Enterprise Company Programme. On Monday 30 January, Kent College hosted the finals for the eleven participants from local schools who had each qualified having successfully competed and won heats.

"All speakers did an excellent job and I know how close the scoring was so special congratulations to Charlie from Bennett Memorial for coming out on top. Special thanks to Tendai and the whole team at Kent College - brilliantly organised and excellent hosts - thank you Tendai on behalf of WKYE.” Royston, West Kent Young Enterprise Organiser.

Ella in the Lower Sixth represented Kent College and spoke with passion on her chosen topic to the audience. Ella’s creative content and delivery of her speech on the night made Kent College very proud. You can see a copy of her speech below. 

c) Should environmental matters affect a business’s drive for profits? By Ella.

The environment involves the interaction of climate, weather, and natural resources that affect species survival and human activity.

I believe that businesses should control their actives to ensure they are being environmentally friendly even if it has a negative impact on their drive for profits.

An environmentally friendly business is one that aims to reduce any negative impact on the surrounding environment. 

So what are the positive impacts of encompassing environmental matters into a business:

Firstly, if a business promotes their environmentally friendly methods, it can be a unique selling point. Setting them apart from competitors, leading to increased customer loyalty, from consumers who want to buy products and services from an environmentally responsible business.

In 2010 a study was published showing that more than 88% of consumers think companies should try to achieve their business goals while improving society and the environment. Since then, more data has been released supporting the fact that consumers will adjust buying behaviour, to buying from companies which demonstrate above average levels of environmental responsibility.

Another positive impact could be that the creative thinking which is required to overcome environmental challenges, promotes a culture of innovation within a business. This may ultimately lead to new product or service developments.

Also, one of the primary drivers of employee engagement is belief in the company’s Mission, which could encompass its environmental strategy. Companies with higher levels of employee engagement are more likely to achieve their corporate goals.

Another example of a positive impact, is that a company can differentiate their employer brand by leveraging their environmental strategy. Often companies must compete to attract and retain the most talented people. Research shows us that the more highly educated a person is, the more likely they are to be attracted to companies with strong environmental credentials.

But what about the potential negative increase in costs? Governments may offer a range of financial incentives to companies undertaking environmentally responsible activities. These include investments, income tax credits and cash grants. This can help to mitigate any negative cost impact, which may have occurred as a result of the companies’ environmental approach.

Let’s bring this to life, imagine you owned a restaurant that predominantly ordered produce from abroad because it is cheaper than sourcing locally. Food imported must be transported long distances by planes or boats, which leads to a larger carbon foot print.

Now imagine the local government offers you subsidies to cover the extra cost of buying your produce from local farmers. You are then able to differentiate your business to customers, ultimately driving customer loyalty and to employees, driving higher levels of engagement. This can be achieved without any additional cost to the business due to the governments subsidies.

This is a very simple example of how an environmental approach, where the cost is mitigated, can result in a stronger business.

Therefore, I believe being environmentally friendly can both benefit companies and society alike.

However, some would argue that environmental matters obstruct business from making profits and being competitive. For example, in the UK the government applies environmental taxes to encourage business to operate in a more environmentally friendly way. In addition, some business would argue that they are not able to compete with companies based in other countries like India and China, where there are little environmental considerations.

Even given these challenges, whilst there may be some short to medium term negative impacts on profitability of companies being environmentally friendly. I believe this is massively outweighed by creating a sustainable model, were businesses and society can both benefit from their environment, for generations to come.

Posted: 08/02/2017 at 08:43
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