8 Inspiring Ways Businesses Can Build a Sustainable Strategy
Learn what a sustainable business strategy is, how to embrace sustainability and implement innovative solutions in your business in 2022.
Many businesses make an effort towards implementing more sustainability initiatives, but without a realistic and compelling business strategy, they face difficulties such as communication and commitment. Problems as such make it harder for brands to comply with pursuing eco-measures and this causes many of them to drop their attempts (after all, “work comes first”).
But meeting sustainable brand goals is more than good PR— it’s a moral responsibility. And yes, becoming more sustainable in an effective way may not be exactly easy at first glance, but the challenge is well worth the reward.
What Is A Sustainable Business Strategy (And Why It’s Important)?
Sustainable companies determine its activities, operations, products and services through a focused understanding of the environmental and social conditions in which it functions. As a result, they ensure that their impact upon the environment and society remains either neutral or positive.
A study found that around only 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions (yikes!). So more than ever, the time has come for businesses of all sizes to become part of the solution. This means taking proactive and conscious measures to cut down on emissions and waste, while contributing to cultivating a healthy planet.
To add another layer to their current concern, customers are paying close attention to these impacts. What’s more, global consumers expect more of the brands they use to support social and environmental issues. A report by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), found that an estimated 68 million Americans base purchasing decisions on their own values — personal, social, and environmental. The study further claims that these consumers spend up to 20% more on environmentally safe products.
These statistics alone are reasons enough to make your want to go green STAT!
How to Make Your Business More Sustainable
As mentioned above, consumers of all ages (and especially younger generations), are searching for brands that publicly fight for sustainable values that align with their own. But don’t fool yourself that these consumers are mainly concerned with eco-friendly materials and packaging. That, my friend, is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sustainable corporate compliance.
The consumers of the modern Era look to purchase and support companies that have an ongoing concern and focus on sustainability across the entire supply chain, in all aspects of the business operations.
And now is your opportunity as a business owner to embrace sustainability and implement innovative strategies in the process.
Wanna know how? We’ve got the answers right here.
Next, find a few of our helpful tips to get you started.
1. Start Recycling at Work
If your workplace doesn’t already make the effort to recycle, take this post as a sign to start doing so right away. That’s because beyond consumer concerns, your own employees will probably give you a rotten eye or not at least trying to salvage corporate waste.
People are lazy, we get it. And it’s so commonplace for everyone to be slothful and throw items in the first trash bin they come across when at work. To help out with your own employees recycling initiatives, provide ample recycling bins in the workplace. It’s equally important to make sure they’re properly labeled for the types of items that go in each of them.
2. REDUCE WASTE
What’s better than recycling? Reducing waste, of course.
In the present world, a great amount of waste is produced daily, especially plastic, paper, bottles, among others. And corporations and businesses of all sizes can produce a lot of waste. A good way to make a move toward sustainability by monitoring your supply chain.
Audit your waste and look for ways to substitute recyclable or reusable products into the manufacturing process.
3. Green Commuting Is the ‘New Cool’
Daily commuting is one of the biggest contributors to our environment. In the US alone, transportation accounts for approximately one-third of all the greenhouse gasses emissions. A way to actively help diminish this impact is by encouraging people towards green commuting.
A green commute is any form of commuting that does not involve a single passenger driving alone to work… or even fully ditching personal vehicles and opting for environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as cycling. A few other good examples of green commuting are carpooling, taking the bus, metro.. Heck, even walking is a fantastic way to commute to work (plus it’s excellent for the heart).
Do you live too far to walk or cycle to your work? There are also inexpensive scooters and electric bikes that you can buy or even rent by using Apps.
4. Offer Remote Work Options
The pandemic took us all by surprise and it hasn’t been an easy time for any of us. However, one good thing that the virus-who-must-not-be-named was the newly flexible work conditions, such as remote working.
Remote workers have the same impact on the environment as planting a forest of trees: they eliminate 3.6 billion tons of greenhouse gases caused by commuting annually. Working remotely also helps people avoid health risks associated with commuting. Plus… it keeps your employees happy.
5. Go Digital (ahem, ditch the papers)
Despite the rise of digital technology, many organizations still insist on using more paper than necessary. And paper is so unnecessary nowadays that even plane tickets are being done digitally.
People are tech-savvy and are getting more and more accustomed to using technology to simplify their lives. This to say, mostly everyone is adaptable and will quickly learn how to use tech for corporate communications and receipts. More than ever before, computers, smartphones, Apps, and other smart devices are integrated into the workplace. Take advantage of these and avoid using paper whenever possible.
Going paperless can create efficiencies, help you automate more of your business processes, and offer your customers better security (ah yes… did we mention it can also save you a lot of money?).
6. Opt For Clean Energy Options
In addition to reducing physical consumption (turn off those darn lights and AC when the office is empty!), consider switching to energy methods that consume and emit less waste. This is another area where going green helps you save serious money. A report by McKinsey says that energy is the fourth-largest in-store operating cost for retailers after labor, rent, and marketing.
A good way to go on about it is by contacting your utility suppliers and asking them to conduct energy audits on your store. Be sure to ask them suggestions on the best ways you can lower your energy usage.
One quick alternative towards sustainable energy compliance is switching to LED light bulbs, which uses less power. Also, you can look into solar options for powering lights and other electronics.
7. Transparency is Key
As earlier stated in this article, sustainability is of growing importance to consumers and your employees alike, so be sure to share your mission and work with everyone in your business environment. That’s because transparency and authenticity are key when it comes to putting sustainability at the forefront of your business.
8. Create a Sustainability Committee
This initiative is becoming a bigger trend in every office and if you’re not doing so yet, start brainstorming a group of passionate volunteers for this role. Selecting a team of people who are responsible for sustainability initiatives in the workplace can do wonders for your efforts.
A sustainability committee creates accountability and these people can further take care to follow up with others and strengthen a culture of sustainability and social care in the workplace. Moreover, a committee will keep the eco-ideas flowing. Task them with talking to other employees about challenges and suggestions, and give them the power to make reasonable decisions (in other words, make it easy for people to comply).
It has never been so important to contribute to a green economy. A 2018 survey from data platform Euclid found that “52% of millennials and 48% of Gen Xers feel it’s important that their values align with the brands they like. Baby boomers don’t fall too far behind, with about 35% of them stating they feel the same.
Plus, it has never been so easy to comply, be it by incentivising, substituting old practices (such as paper), and even communicating with both your employees and with your clientele. Indeed, technological advances, infrastructure improvements, innovative start-ups, circular design practices, consumer behaviours, and regulatory pressure are creating an environment where retailers can pursue circular initiatives with confidence and ease.
A sustainable business not only will bring you respect from customers; it can save you heaps of money and resources in the long run. For retailers and brands, focusing on sustainable practices is not only crucial to protect the environment and our planet, but also a key way to attract younger generations of consumers and drive long-term brand loyalty.
So… how will your business further pursue corporate social responsibility from now on?
Let us know in the comments below what you believe is the most useful (and doable) sustainable business strategy.
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Ana is the voice (erm, hands?) behind Ana Palombini Copywriting, where she provides B2B copy for SaaS, Tech and entrepreneurs. Once graduated from a university where suits were mandatory, she is now a firm believer that work + sweatpants are a better match than ketchup and fries. When she is not furiously typing ‘till her fingers are numb, you’ll find her watching Friends for the millionth time or having late-night sushi from her couch (or both). Say hi on Linkedin or check out her website.
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