Organisations in the past considered sustainability issues to be outside the general interest of business. Today, more and more businesses are beginning to recognise that making environment sustainability a priority can deliver unforeseen advantages.
As the impact of going green becomes more apparent, the days of questioning whether or not to pursue sustainability in business are long gone.
But why are sustainable practices important, and how can you employ sustainable business practices? First, let’s discuss what sustainability in business is.
What is Sustainability in Business?
Sustainability in business means doing business without producing any harmful impact on the environment. Conversely, practising business sustainability means addressing the effect company operation has on the environment and society in general.
Sustainable business strategies aim to make a positive impact on both of these areas. However, when an organisation fails to take responsibility, the results often lead to environmental ruination and, along with it, social injustice.
But beyond helping impede global challenges, practising sustainability can propel business success. Investors use environmental metrics to analyse the sustainability practices and ethical impact an organisation has on society.
Study shows that there is a correlation between a company’s environmental rating and cost of capital; the higher the rating, the lower the cost of equity and debt. One reason is that more and more consumers prefer to partner with businesses that place a high value on social responsibility.
7 Sustainable Business Practices That Leave an Impact
Here are seven sustainable practices examples every organisation should aim to employ.
1. Make Sustainability a Priority
Considering the positive impact sustainability has on the environment and society as a whole, it only makes sense for organisations to be intentional about making it a priority. Sustainability shouldn’t remain an idea but should be incorporated into strategies. It should also be reflected in corporate goals, ensuring that it is one of the top priorities in every aspect of business operations.
This means organisations need to make an action plan and appoint someone accountable. Furthermore, the results should be measured and evaluated periodically. Soon, this should create a driving power needed to further your organisation’s sustainability efforts.
2. Get Employees Involved
The desire to go green should not only stay with the leaders or a small group of people within the organisation. Momentum has to be created if results are to be expected. Every person involved in the business must catch the vision. For this to happen, leadership must commit to investing time in training staff on the importance of sustainability.
3. Work with Nonprofit Organisations
Whether your company is interested in environmental issues or ethical concerns, there are existing nonprofit organisations that agree with the specific goals of your business. The truth is that many organisations are interested in embracing sustainable business practices, but they are often overwhelmed with the task of creating a sustainability plan.
Partnering with nonprofit organisations is an excellent way to get around this obstacle, as these organisations have the necessary experience and resources to help you jumpstart your efforts.
4. Develop a Recycling Program Within Your Company
This may sound too simplistic, but it’s one of the most effective ways to inculcate a culture of sustainability within your organisation. There are several ways you do this, but the most essential step is to start.
Eliminating waste will not only help the bottom line of your business but will also boost the satisfaction and engagement of your employees. But, more importantly, it will meet the demands of your customers for increased environmental responsibility.
The key is to make it easy for your employees to participate. This could mean installing small recycling bins beside each worker’s desk and larger ones in busy areas, such as the group printer or photocopying machine.
5. Invest in Energy-Efficient Tools and Systems
Energy-efficient buildings use less energy by up to 35 per cent. Even if you’re a small business, this is already a substantial amount. And since you’re not relying too much on fossil fuels, your business will produce lower greenhouse gas emissions.
It also makes sense to invest in well-designed systems and components that prevent heat loss and provide better thermal comfort. Heating is often the most significant energy cost in a business and can account for around 40% of energy consumption.
An energy-efficient building will eventually translate to higher productivity since it promotes comfort and health to workers, providing them with better ventilation and fresh air at all times.
6. Develop Policies and Procedures That Uphold Sustainability
There is no better way to further cement the practice of sustainability than by developing relevant work policies. Things such as turning off electronic equipment at the end of the work day or enabling energy savings on computers may seem simple, but they can deliver significant long-term results. They can also help enforce your cause.
You can also encourage remote or hybrid work. Research found that implementing even just two days a week of remote work can reduce Nitrogen Dioxide pollution by 4%.
Going paperless can also significantly cut carbon footprint. Take advantage of cloud-based applications that allow teams to collaborate to cut down on or completely eradicate your use of paper in the workplace.
7. Partner with Suppliers that Embrace Sustainability
Finally, rethinking your supply chain can open doors of opportunity for your company to embrace sustainability. This could mean sourcing your materials responsibly. If your business involves sourcing raw materials from an external supplier, it’s vital that you know how the materials are procured.
Ensuring that your suppliers observe fair labour and do their part in taking care of the environment can leave a lasting impact on your organisation’s ethical and environmental footprint.
The sustainable work practices examples outlined here can go a long way if observed religiously. They can leave significant impacts on your company and society in general. Here’s the question: Do you or your suppliers already have sustainability practices in place?
Here at Azolla, our number one goal is to help businesses achieve environmental and ethical practices.
Why not apply to begin the certification process to encourage environmental change among your suppliers further? Call Azolla now, and we will help you with product certification.