Why do businesses invest in sustainability? Partly out of necessity and because of our changing climate, yes, but also often because of the other benefits it can bring.
In fact, sustainable initiatives in the workplace are now undeniably good for business. Yet, many companies just simply aren’t seeing the benefits or, in some cases, may be unknowingly engaging in greenwashing.
Knowing how to avoid this can be difficult, but the key is in how it is implemented. Sustainability should be incorporated as a core part of your business’s mission, not just a marketing move or a public relations talking point. By defining sustainability as a vital part of your business’s values, it can inform the decisions you make and make your business more sustainable at every level.
Done authentically and effectively, this means it won’t just improve your company’s appearance but also improve its internal operations and level of success. This includes lower operating costs and business expenses, better overall financial performance, improved reputation, and increased sales.
Businesses can also attract more employees and increase their retention rate of current employees when they implement a sustainable strategy. Not only that, a recent study conducted by researchers at UCLA found that employees of companies that adopt sustainable practices are 16% more productive.
Despite all these benefits, only about 25% of companies actually have sustainability strategies in place. This makes it very difficult to follow through on green initiatives, especially when high-priority tasks that clearly impact your business’s bottom line are the competing priority.
In the long run, however, business leaders who continue to procrastinate on this issue will eventually fall behind in other ways, too.
Even if you know the benefits implementing a sustainability strategy could bring your business, it can be challenging to know where to start. You can use the following few tips to help you get started.
Of course, the first step in developing a sustainability strategy is examining your current business practices. Understanding the current impact that your company has on the environment and your community is essential, so really examine your policies, operations, and position.
While issues can be solved with simple, straightforward solutions, others may not be so obvious and challenging to change, but there are always positive steps you can take. If your company has not engaged in charity work or the community in the past, this is really something to think about too.
Get Everyone on Board
To really imbed sustainability into your business’s mission, you’re going to need to get stakeholders and executive leadership on board. These individuals or groups are invested in the company’s success, so they should be involved in the process.
Assembling an oversight council is also a great way to keep yourself on track and to get other people involved too. Bring in the employees who are most passionate about sustainability to keep up the momentum and bring in new ideas.
Of course, engaging all of your employees is important, so make sure to amplify your story internally as well!
Set Realistic and Specific Goals
Setting specific, attainable goals is, perhaps obviously, one of the most important steps in the entire process. Making sure they are trackable is especially important for when you want to monitor your progress later on.
Create a Plan
Any plan you make to reach your goals should be actionable and realistic for your company. Set a priority list, make a timetable, and create a budget from implanting any new programmes or company changes. If some of the goals you have set are very large, you can break down the process into smaller steps.
Track Your Progress
Whether your goals are qualitative or quantitative, knowing how you are progressing is a must. Having a clear roadmap keeps you focused and committed, and if you notice that you’re not making as much progress as you anticipated, you can reevaluate your strategy and make adjustments as needed.
You can also publicise your progress, showing your company’s commitment to developing more sustainable practices and reassuring your customers that you are working towards your goals.
Creating a sustainability strategy alone is difficult for every business. That’s why Play it Green support our business members by providing them with our free Net Zero Framework.
With creating a sustainability strategy as a first step, the framework allows businesses to plan and action improvement within nine key areas that will eventually help them reach Net Zero; Governance, Energy and Emissions, Food, Procurement, Transportation, Venue, Resource Use and Waste, Water, and Projects and Workforce.
Why not find out what you could accomplish today?