Sustainability: Why and How

Updated: Aug 17, 2018

When you hear the word ‘sustainability’, what comes to mind? Recycling? Energy consumption? Going ‘green’?

Yes, those terms are relevant, but sustainability encompasses much more than that, in fact, embracing it can maximise the success of your business.

Sustainability in an organisation is a balancing act, where economics, society and the environment are mutually valued. This impacts operations, the office environment, employee wellbeing, transparency with stakeholders and ultimately influences business longevity.

Wondering how sustainability can be an asset to your business? Here are some key benefits;

  • It cultivates efficiency. Sustainability ensures that you maximise use and storage of resources, it minimises energy consumption, reduces trade and disposal waste and helps streamline systems.

  • It promotes productivity. Sustainable practices result in increased awareness and knowledge of resources, generating proficiency and effectiveness. It also provides employees with a larger purpose.

  • It fosters innovation. Sustainability often requires thinking outside the box, helping you identify weak points and allowing you to determine where opportunities lie. Practices are continuously improving and help a business innovate and modernise.

  • It differentiates you. Implementing sustainability within your overall business strategy will cultivate stakeholder interest and loyalty, as it demonstrates your respect for the industry, the environment and attention to changing societal needs.

Embracing sustainability will help your business build resilience, positively contribute to your bottom line, give you a competitive advantage and enhance productivity. Here’s 6 steps you can take to become more sustainable;

1. Conduct an energy audit. An assessment of your business’s energy needs and efficiency will allow you to analyse where you can improve and what factors to focus on first.

2. Establish a sustainability goal. Make sustainability attainable and measurable by setting up a list of specific goals that will provide you with a road map. For example, do you want to start processing orders online, find local suppliers or educate employees on recycling practices?

3. Assign a role or responsibility. Once you have outlined your primary goals, assign responsibility to an employee or a team. Giving them the task to oversee the goals will keep sustainability at the forefront of your company culture.

4. Reduce communication costs and waste. Think twice about printing materials and sending letters, instead, maximise use of technology when communicating with employees or customers. Archive files rather than manually printing and filing them and enhance your corporate culture by providing staff with company-branded reusable coffee cups.

5. Take the extra step. When leaving the office for the day, turn appliances such as printers or computers off from the power point. It will reduce your electricity bills and make a difference in the long-run.

6. Devise a Green Policy. An embedded sustainability policy will provide you and your employees with guidelines that will keep you on track, inspire further improvements and inform stakeholders of your sustainability mission.

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