Sustainability in your Business
Nowadays, sustainability is at the centre of conversation. Everyone is trying to find ways to protect the environment, tackle climate change, and protect and fight for human rights. Businesses are needing to be aware of their environmental impact and take responsibility, while also offering consumers transparency and integrity.
Benefits of becoming more sustainable
The most obvious benefit when considering sustainability is quite simply how it genuinely will benefit the environment. If everyone played their part, we could make a real difference however, there are also several other reasons why one might consider making their business more sustainable.
It can help with your reputation and in turn your marketing, sales, profit, productivity, and recruitment strategy. The key to success in the current climate is ensuring that the actions your business takes align with the personal values of your consumers. People are more aware and want to partner with and purchase from ethical companies and services. Significantly, Millennials and Generation Z are gaining higher purchasing power than ever before. These are also, more typically, the age groups that have been passionate about environmental and societal issues. It would be mutually beneficial for you to work towards sustainability in your business.
Notably, there is an ESG metric; this stands for environmental, social, and governance. The metric is a rating system for how your business performs in relation to these elements. Others can see how ethical and sustainable your company is, and a McKinsey survey notes that those with a higher ESG rating appear to outperform in the long term. This can help you rival your competitors and gain consumers' trust and respect. Moreover, in being forced to compete with other businesses, you all encourage each other to be more environmentally conscious and sustainable, which is an overall win for everyone.
The triple p’s or triple bottom line which John Elkington coined describes the things to consider with a business; people, planet, and profit. In a similar vein to the ESG metric, this evaluates the importance of sustainability and considers the way your business has an impact on the environment, society, the workforce, and consumers.
How to be more sustainable
How do we go about shifting to a more sustainable way of being and functioning then? Quite simply we start with reducing our environmental impact, in a business this might mean reducing energy consumption, reducing waste, and using more sustainable supply chains.
Energy consumption can be monitored with a smart meter which you can use to make changes. Perhaps your business offices use too much heating, lighting and electricity when this usage can be reduced. It’s worth keeping an eye on these things and making adjustments where you can. You might also consider switching to more renewable sources of energy like solar or wind, or a green provider that can offer this. Reducing waste can also be as simple as recycling paper, plastic, cardboard, or whatever products your business uses. If done consistently, these small things can have a much greater impact. Using sustainable supply chains will also have an impact on how green your company is. For example, if your products are sourced with renewable, recyclable, or biodegradable materials, you are on the right track. Sourcing, production, storage, and transport are all part of the supply process that does require consideration and care.
Another way to be more sustainable is to consider people when conducting your business. You can consider your staff’s well-being while also going green. This might include offering employee benefits and increasing flexible work patterns. For example, by allowing employees to occasionally remote work or even adopt a hybrid working scheme, you are considering both their well-being and also such things as their commute cost or impact. With more employees working from home, there is less pollution and carbon emissions from transport vehicles. You can therefore achieve two goals in one.
If you are able to, another great idea might be to give back to the environment and community by making charitable donations. It’s important for your business to support causes and initiatives where you can. If you are unable to donate perhaps you could partake in some fundraising and make it a challenge with your workforce to engage people.
Finally, it is incredibly important to partake in compliance and impact reporting in order to offer transparency. Mandatory reporting is becoming more commonplace but being open about publishing reports whether it is on environmental issues or societal statistics can give your business more integrity. It also provides an opportunity to see where improvements may need to be made.
Overall, a move towards sustainability in the current climate is the right step forward. It can be mutually beneficial for your businesses as well as the environment. Try a few of the steps and start today, there is no time like the present.