Sustainability is a hot topic in today’s business world. There is an increased push for business to take responsibility and operate in an ethical, environmentally friendly and sustainable way. This is for the benefit of our planet and generations to come. If every business can make changes and improve the way in which they work, we should be able to reduce global emissions and maintain a society that flourishes.
But how can this be achieved? What can an individual company do, whether it is a large corporation or a solo entrepreneur? It can be a daunting task and to help, we have listed five ways businesses are actively promoting and improving sustainability in their sector.
Recycling is usually at the top of the list of sustainable campaigns that businesses try and adopt. If a business can reduce their reliance on disposable and single-use items then it contributes greatly to their sustainability.
A prime example is the food industry. Many companies are trying to reduce the plastic packaging and the amount of wrapping on their edible goods. Additionally, if you read the labels of food packaging, you will see how businesses are trying to make them from recycled materials.
Even at a basic level, if you have recycling bins in your offices and encourage people to recycle, this will make a difference.
It is surprising how many businesses still have a large reliance on paper. In today’s world, there is literally no need for this, and digitalization is probably one of the best things a company can do to become sustainable.
Digitalization is the way forward! There will, of course, be an initial amount of effort and work involved to transfer all your paper records but the process should make your business run far more effectively and sustainably. If you can go completely paperless then this is a big stride forward and we believe it’s something all companies should strive for, regardless of their sector.
Mobility is one of the biggest areas where business fall short on sustainability. This could include employees travelling to work, shipping goods to customers or receiving items from the supply chain.
To help improve your mobility sustainability, you could first encourage employees to car pool where possible. If multiple people can share transport, this will help reduce emissions when traveling.
Secondly, if your business style permits it, you could allow people to work from home. There are some incredible remote work tools that allow for excellent communication, so productivity or reaching your employees shouldn’t be an issue. Options to move to local suppliers to reduce your emissions in the supply chain can help your mobility too.
Working with Local Suppliers or Partners
Sustainability comes in many forms and one that is often overlooked is the supply chain and partners of a business. Due to the global nature of business today, many companies have overseas suppliers and spend huge sums on importing and exporting.
This can obviously boost your CO2 emissions, which is not desirable. It also does nothing to support the local economies surrounding your company. Therefore, a great way to improve your sustainability is to look for local suppliers and partners. By supporting them, the local economy will flourish, which should in turn benefit your company. You could start small and simply find local suppliers for things such as stationery, office equipment, and food and drink supplies for your staff.
Actively Monitoring Carbon Footprint
One of the main measures of sustainability is the carbon footprint of a business. This is because to operate long term without damaging the environment and depleting our earth’s limited resources, businesses must ideally run carbon neutral.
This is possible and many big companies are already aiming to shift towards this. To monitor your CO2 footprint, you must first ascertain all the processes and activities that emit CO2. Once you have this information, you can track the data over an initial 12-month period. With statistics collected, you can then look at potential areas of improvement and how to reduce your footprint accordingly. Sage has some useful info here on how to calculate your business carbon footprint.
As you can see, change is happening. All it takes to make a huge difference is for a handful of companies in each sector to promote sustainability. If the most popular and recognizable businesses lead the way and show that sustainability is achievable, the rest will follow suit. In time, sustainability will become a staple of business and something that becomes standard practice.