As we enter a new decade, people are becoming more informed about environmental problems we all face – and the measures they can take to effect change. This has a growing influence on consumers’ lifestyle choices, purchases, and brands they support.
Businesses know that if they improve their practices towards sustainability, they can establish brand loyalty. But authenticity matters, too – claiming to be sustainable without following through will alienate consumers. Here are five ways your business can demonstrate its commitment to the environment and drive genuine change for sustainability.
Regardless of the scale of your business, you can make a difference by choosing to purchase materials and equipment only from sustainable suppliers. If you outsource manufacturing, do a thorough check on your partner’s site operations. Go over the entire supply chain to find opportunities for more responsible sourcing. Work with cardboard packaging manufacturers to communicate this commitment to your end consumers through the final product. Even if it comes at increased cost, remember that the modern environment-conscious consumer would prefer to pay more for responsibly sourced products.
As your employees go about their daily tasks, there may be areas for improvement in small practices such as the energy savings from responsibly powering down desktop computers when not in use, or switching the lights off at the end of the day. If such measures aren’t being rigorously followed at your workplace, this is the time to get started. And if you’re already following best practices in-house, engage your employees – they may come up with suggestions to take measures further.
Even a startup company comprised of only a small number of telecommuting or remote working employees will run up some fuel costs; your team still has to attend some meetings and events in person and purchase supplies. And what if your company has a vehicle fleet? Fuel consumption and resulting carbon emissions can quickly multiply as a result of your business operations. Look for ways to minimise your fuel usage, such as calculations to reduce business mileage, careful monitoring of fuel consumption, regular vehicle maintenance, and educating drivers on efficient practices.
Saving the environment is an enormous challenge; the biggest problems can be greater than whatever can be accomplished through standalone efforts. Both individuals and businesses can be more effective in this endeavour when they work together. Bring your resources to the collective effort by partnering with government and non-government organisations, local communities, and other businesses. Such collaborations recognise that we are all stakeholders who must find ways to preserve our shared environment and resources.
Commit and measure
As a leader, you’re probably well aware that effecting change in individuals is driven by accountability. And the same is true as well for businesses. If you want to demonstrate a real commitment to sustainable practices and working to save the environment, set forth a public goal and plan of action. Keep your customers, business partners, and other stakeholders posted with regular updates, and measure your progress. In this way, you’ll be accountable for making your sustainable vision a reality.
In an era where awareness of our uncertain environmental future is constantly increasing, businesses can no longer afford just to pay lip service to sustainability. Make real efforts through the influence of your organisation to spread change and have a real positive impact on the environment.