Consumer awareness of sustainable business practices is growing. Now, consumers want to know that the businesses they are buying from truly care. With that in mind, many businesses are now wanting to transition towards a greener infrastructure. Here’s exactly how to implement these effective business sustainability strategies.
It is important to review internal business processes and understand what can be done to improve business sustainability.
Management overhauls or simple day-to-day changes within your business can make big differences when it comes to improving your carbon footprint.
There are many actions a company and each individual within can take to create a more sustainable brand, with initiatives such as energy cuts and making more eco-conscious business choices. A carbon-neutral company is one that has net-zero CO2 emissions. These methods are referred to as ‘business sustainability strategies’.
What is sustainability in business? It is how a business takes long-term action to have a minimal negative impact on the environment. One way to do this is by improving the company’s carbon footprint.
Businesses can start establishing a baseline by measuring their carbon output before making effective changes. This internal audit will involve calculating how much greenhouse gas emissions are coming from each department.
These areas span across business travel, consumer habits, and who you choose to collaborate with. Not taking matters of sustainability seriously could potentially impact the performance of your business, as 73% of consumers report willingness to change their habits in accordance with a company’s business sustainability strategies.
Green energy providers encompass renewable energy solutions. Opting for solar panels to power your operations is one example. Green energy can come in the form of electricity, natural gas, and fuel, which can all come together to reduce your carbon footprint.
Other energy cuts such as switching to LED lightbulbs (as they are more efficient) and mandating all employees to switch off their computers and all the lights at the end of the day can also save significant energy. Get creative and perhaps even gamify the process by implementing a reward system for extra incentives to achieve faster results.
Waste reduction is a generalised term that includes the waste you produce when you run your business. For example, going paperless and digital is an excellent and very effective way to reduce paper waste.
The Pitney Bowles Shipping Index report has recently revealed that the global parcel volume has surpassed the 100 billion mark (it hit 103 billion in 2019). By the year 2026, projections show that we are likely to exceed double that number.
The sheer volume of waste we produce via shipping is unimaginable, but your business efforts can help with carbon offsets by reducing vanity packaging, using recycled packaging materials, and choosing to ship by sea as opposed to airmail when possible.
How are your products manufactured? Are the factories eco-conscious and do they abide by government regulations on CO2 emissions? These are all questions to ask yourself before agreeing to work with a manufacturer.
Your eco-friendly values go out the window if your products don’t comply. Simply keeping an eye on your production emissions won’t help if your product isn’t sustainable. Look for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle in every aspect of your business from conception to delivery.
Make most if not all of your packaging recyclable and use recycled materials as often as you can. Avoid plastic whenever possible and ensure that the manufacturing process is environmentally friendly.
Where your products are hosted, namely the warehouses, can also contribute to your carbon footprint. It’s a cog in the manufacturing and delivery process that businesses can easily overlook. We suggest gaining control over fulfilment that gives you more power over the packaging and methods used.
Push for consumers to pick up products in-store if possible by adding an incentive such as a complimentary gift or gift card. Power your warehouse with LED lighting and with the help of green energy suppliers in an effort to cut down on energy consumption.
The last leg of distribution is the culprit of a large percentage of your carbon footprint. Businesses can work to reduce this by opting for eco-friendly delivery solutions such as Urb-It, another B-certified corporation.
Your employees also contribute to your company’s overall carbon footprint. What’s involved include how they travel to work and what they consume. Yes, turning off the lights and opting for LED lighting in the workplace is a great way to reduce your staff’s carbon footprint, but you can also take it a step further by encouraging employee involvement in notable causes that advocate for the environment.
Something as simple as creating a green environment at the workplace by adding plants can do wonders for the mental and physical well-being of your staff. Not to mention, photosynthesis will also generate fresh air.
One Tribe can also help by supporting the preservation of rainforests with every purchase your customers and employees make on your site.
Lastly, donating a portion of your revenue to environmental causes is another great way to offset employee carbon footprints.
As we mentioned, the packaging and shipping process can greatly contribute to your greenhouse gas emissions, but it doesn’t stop there. You must also take action in choosing your product suppliers carefully. Your carbon footprint will extend to who you elect to work with.
One easy way to accomplish the above is to select other sustainable businesses as partners. Inquire about their practices, business ethics, and don’t be afraid to look into how potential partners are working to reduce their own harmful emissions.
The next question is how a potential partner’s business is funded and where they choose to invest. There are plenty of business accounts and banking institutions that won’t jeopardise a business’s carbon footprint. Digital banking is a way to do this, and we have seen a rise in fully digital banking and investment organisations these last few years.
These institutions use your money to fund green initiatives across the globe that can range from planting trees to reducing waste.
When you’re carrying out your audit, be aware of greenwashing. Greenwashing pertains to a company or organisation’s false advertising of eco-friendly strategies – something an ethical business will not do. Making claims of sustainable practices that cannot be proven is an example of this. There are financial institutions that claim to be green but are heavily involved in the fossil fuel sector.
There are many businesses that can offer to offset your carbon emissions for you. This is typical with global companies such as DPD and Nike who struggle to keep tabs across all areas of their business.
Working with sustainable-centric partners such as One Tribe can effectively reduce your carbon footprint by allowing your business to protect the Amazon Rainforest. There are also organisations that offer carbon credits and offsets that aim for environmental preservation. So you really have the opportunity to personalise your carbon scheme.
Carbon offsetting, to put it simply, is reducing or removing carbon emissions from one area to “offset” or compensate for ones made in another. This isn’t easy to do without resources, which is why carbon credits and tree protection organisations like One Tribe exist to work with you in order to achieve your sustainability goals.
You don’t need to go from zero to a full-fledged eco-friendly business right from the start. But even putting basic businesses sustainability strategies in place can help and is considered essential to all businesses.
If steps are not taken to reduce harmful emissions, their impact on the planet can be detrimental. Famous Canadian environmentalist and activist David Suzuki is quoted as saying, “The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it.” It is time for individuals, and businesses alike, to do the same.”
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