If you take an honest look at your business practices and processes, are you helping or harming the world around you? Either way, all businesses can make improvements when it comes to social and environmental responsibility. With so many customers preferring to do business with ethical companies, can you afford to miss out?
If you are looking to implement these changes, we can help. Below we have provided a must-read guide on how to implement sustainable business practices in your organization.
Make Sustainable Business Practices Your Mission
Sustainable businesses are not organizations that do events and activities for the purposes of marketing, then forget about them once complete. Sustainable businesses have social and environmental responsibility at their core. They implement these goals in everything that they say and do, including within their mission statement.
This does not mean totally rewriting your statement of intent, but it could be added to or reworded to include intentional sustainability goals. Part of this intent may be to create a larger plan of action. Assigning someone who will take responsibility for this shows to customers and staff how serious you are about it.
Engage Your Staff
Building sustainable businesses starts and ends with the staff operating them. If you are serious about sustainability and have aligned it with your business goals, then you must provide training to your staff. Bring in guest speakers, share videos, and hold discussions about sustainability and how you can improve it.
Donate part of your training budget to sustainability. You may have an employee designated as a sustainability coordinator. Send them to conferences, seminars, and online courses and get them to share their experiences with other staff.
You could even go one step further and set up a green team. This will allow others in the organization to contribute, working on the sustainability and development targets set in your business goals.
Finally, start at the top and do as you want your employees to do. If the management of a business is not embodying the business goals, then how can workers be expected to do the same?
Use Sustainable, Local Supply Chains When Possible
When sourcing supplies, try to use companies that are themselves a sustainable business. You can use this in your marketing efforts, touting how your company uses sustainable sources. Many consumers actually prefer sustainable companies, and this should start to reflect in your sales.
If you can source them locally, you are working on multiple levels. You are helping to support your local community and its economy. Secondly, you are cutting out lengthy transport and logistics that may increase the carbon footprint of your product.
Thirdly, you are actually safeguarding the processes of your businesses from external influences that may halt its production. Long supply chains are like a house of cards, wherein if one small part falls the rest come crumbling down. With only a small, local chain if anything goes wrong, it is easier to rebuild and rectify.
Business travel is undergoing huge changes after the COVID-19 crisis, and most of them have been great for the environment. A change toward digital meeting places has taken place, so people are no longer flying around the world building a large corporate carbon footprint.
This would not have been possible without the use of video conferencing software. It provides more profit, as your company is not paying for hotels, flights and using up travel time. It also provides a better work-life balance for your workers and helps the environment.
If your employees really do need to travel, then try to encourage the use of green transportation. Switch trains for flights where possible, limiting the release of co2 emissions from flight fuels. When traveling, always take an ethical choice.
Recycle Old Electronics
The office is full of electronic devices, namely computers and monitors. Once they reach the end of life, they typically vanish into the depths of the I.T. department never to be seen again. But what happens to them after that?
If they go into the trash bin they end up sitting on a landfill for eternity, despite the fact that they are full of valuable components. If your electronics have batteries and other heavy metals inside, they may leak acid or poisons into the environment.
Prevent this by finding an e-waste recycling company. Alternatively, see if you can upgrade your systems instead of replacing them. It may even work out cheaper.
Use Scrap Metal
If your business uses metal in its manufacturing processes, particularly steel and aluminum, then ask how much of that is sustainable? Many different metals are an eco-friendly option as they can be easily recycled once their use runs out.
As well as selling sustainable metals, you could also use them. As well as being eco-friendly, it is often a lot cheaper, saving you money. Luckily, most metal suppliers will have stacks of scrap metal just waiting to be snapped up.
Make Ethical Investments
When making investments, it can be extremely easy to hedge money on the safe bet. This is understandable when you are trying to turn a profit. However, companies that invest should also consider the environmental impact of their choices, and in particular the companies and industries they are investing in.
Some banking companies have made their whole ethos about investing in sustainable businesses. They use the money of their customers to invest in projects that are both profitable and working toward building a better world. For example, they may choose to invest in green and renewable energy as opposed to the fossil fuel sector.
Starting the Process
Starting the process is easier than you think. Sustainable business practices may take a little organization to set up, but you will see positive change within your company. This will transfer to your customers quickly.
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