The mark of confidence

Since 1969

We can’t realistically claw back the damage we’ve already done to the environment – despite some claims the Ozone layer might be repairing itself – but that’s not to say sustaining what we have left isn’t possible. Businesses are at the forefront of this, owing to the massive impact they have on global well-being. Let’s take a detailed look at how enterprises can contribute towards sustainability.

The importance of sustainability

It’s not unreasonable to suggest the current environmental state of the Earth is a lot worse than most people realise. While we don’t know exactly when natural resources will run out completely, most estimations point towards a period within the next 100 years. The infographic below highlights the alarming state the world is in, with the thick sections showing the year resources will run out if used at the current rate, and the thin end showing the time period resources will be expended if we introduce sustainability measures:

Source: Mining.com

It’s crucial for businesses to appreciate four critical factors:

Drastic, but accurate, points. The importance of sustainability is becoming one of the most crucial factors in the future of mankind. Businesses should begin adopting policies which address the need to be more conservative with these resources, if we want to avoid a reality where we cannot sustain ourselves.

The benefits you’ll get from a more environmental approach

There are a range of benefits to take advantage of when it comes to a more environmental outlook in your organisation. Business owners have the potential to make a huge impact on the global footprint. This would benefit both the planet and their company.

Boost sustainability – As we’ve discovered, the necessity to sustain what we have is becoming increasingly urgent. However, aside from the sustainability factor of the greater environment, you’ll also gain an economic advantage over competitors. The less dependent you are on natural resources (which will be in a shortage in years to come), the quicker you’ll be able to adapt and evolve.

Improve public relations – The public perception of a company which doesn’t utilise hazardous or limited supplies will always be a positive one – at least from an environmental perspective. Consumers are more likely to do business with an organisation who are environmentally aware.

Save on costs – Reducing your energy consumption output will also save money. The American conglomerate DuPont have saved as much as $6 billion since 1990, thanks to reducing their carbon emission rates by 72%. Even smaller companies can save as a result of something as simple as reducing energy bills.

Attract more employees and investors – Young people looking for work will naturally be more attracted to a business which shows a clear awareness of the impact they’re having. Reputation is more important in the 21st century than it ever has been before. Do you want to appear slightly behind the times with your approach to environmental issues? This will impact you negatively with not only potential job applicants, but also investors. They won’t want their name associated with an organisation who don’t value global issues.

Provide a healthier workplace – It’s something which can be overlooked, but having a clean, healthy and pollutant-free workplace is naturally beneficial to companies. You reduce the risk of causing passive harm to an employee, and will again boost your public image.

What businesses can do to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable

Now you have a list of reasons why it would benefit your business, it’s only natural you’ll want to learn how to make your current organisation greener. There are a number of steps which have the potential to transform even the most polluting work environment into one which is healthy for everyone.

Linking environmental sustainability to a business’ long-term plans

The best way to guarantee you’ll successfully implement an environmental plan of action which works, is by developing it around your core long-term values. Having strategies which are integrated with your green approach will make it a lot easier to successfully adapt to your new environmentally friendly way of life.

Some useful suggestions in this regard include:

  • 1) Integrate environmental factors into all business decisions
    When you’re making decisions, consider the impact it will have on the environment. Is what you’re doing going to have a negative effect in any way? If so, don’t follow through with it. If you want to truly make being greener a primary concern for your company, you need to treat these factors as importantly as you would do any other business decisions.
  • 2) Appoint a chief sustainability office (and give them power)
    Bring in someone with the specific purpose of monitoring and taking your global impact into account. You can either hand this title to a pre-existing member of staff, or go as far as to find somebody who specialises in the field.

    Perhaps most importantly, they can’t just be a visual force – they need legitimate power to have a say regarding decisions a company makes. This needs to be largely focused around financial planning. They can ensure there’s money being invested towards sustaining the more environmentally friendly outlook.
  • 3) Introduce metrics related to environmental importance
    Make goals and targets you want to hit related to the environment. Also encourage your suppliers to equal or even better these values. If you’re approached by a company who don’t adhere to these core environmental practices, it would be advisable to avoid using their services.
  • 4) Make it a core value of your workforce
    You can’t just implement a new strategy when it comes to business decisions. It’s crucial to integrate it at the most important level of all – among your workforce. Make sure they’re given a clear outline of the importance of their impact, and potentially even make awareness of the environment a small part of their plan of progression.
Chapter 3