3 Ways To Make Sustainability A Part Of Your Business

sexta-feira, março 01, 2019

Sustainability can resist in soaring growth
If you want to see your business grow over the long term, you have to invest in sustainability.PEXELS.COM.

A growing number of leaders from the public and private sectors have pledged support for climate action, as the link between climate change and negative environmental and social effects becomes clearer. Moreover, as the data on sustainability practices and business performance matures, business leaders are having a harder time ignoring it. That’s because sustainable initiatives in the workplace are undeniably good for business.

A recent study conducted by researchers at UCLA found that employees of companies that adopt sustainable practices are 16 percent more productive. Part of that could be in the cultural DNA of these companies — forward-thinking business practices and productivity at work are likely at least somewhat correlated. But some “green” practices do directly impact employees. Respondents to a recent U.S. Green Building Council survey were happier and healthier and got more done working in a LEED-certified building than their counterparts working in traditional office spaces.

Most companies now know that having a sustainability strategy in place is important, although only about 25 percent of those have developed a clear business case for such a strategy. That can make following through on green initiatives hard to do, especially when high-priority tasks that clearly impact your business’s bottom line are the competing priority. That said, leaders who continue to procrastinate on implementing a sustainability strategy will eventually fall behind in other ways, too.

If you’re ready to create a more environmentally responsible workplace but aren’t sure where to start, here are three things you can get to work on right now that will pay off in the years to come:

1. Incorporate sustainability into your everyday operations.

Many of the world’s largest and most successful companies are investing in environmental stewardship initiatives. Companies like Apple and Ikea, for instance, have gone well beyond the requirements of government regulations to find environmentally friendly alternatives to unsustainable business practices. Apple has committed to using green energy to power its manufacturing plants, while Ikea is using ocean-bound plastics to make its products. Assess your supply chain to determine where your company may be able to follow their lead.

You could also join a community task force that focuses on green initiatives. For example, the working groups of OneSTL —which focus on energy, food, water and green infrastructure, transportation, materials and waste, and biodiversity — allow business leaders to work toward changes in their community within the niche area that best aligns with their company’s values. Also consider how your business can contribute to — or take advantage of — the sustainability initiatives of your city. For example, Boeing will be using waste heat from a new Seattle sewer trunk line to heat the company’s assembly facilities. That’s not only better for the planet, but it saves the company money to boot.


2. Make changes in the office.

For some companies, greening supply chains or reducing raw materials usage and waste will have immediate and obvious bottom-line benefits. Those tactics, however, tend to take quite a bit of strategic planning and time to execute. Fortunately, there are also some obvious practices you can adopt that won’t take much time to put into place.

Encouraging employees to recycle and making it easy for them to do so can help you begin to establish a culture of sustainability. Set recycling goals for your team, and reward team members for meeting them. Change the light bulbs in your office to LEDs, which use much less energy and last 10-20 times longer than halogen or incandescent light bulbs. You’ll pay more upfront, but you’ll save over the long term. Plus, you’ll be working toward something larger than yourself.

3. Make sustainability a two-way street.

Making responsible environmental choices could start at work, but it certainly shouldn’t end there. You can incentivize sustainable lifestyles outside the office as well. Bank of America, for example, will pay $500 of an employee’s solar panel installation, while Facebook offers employees $10,000 or more if they move within 10 miles of its Silicon Valley campus (thus shortening their commutes and reducing their carbon emissions). You may not have Facebook amounts of cash to throw around, but you may be able to subsidize mass transit passes for your team members or award gift cards to those who have energy audits performed on their homes.

One benefit to encouraging your workers’ eco-consciousness outside the office is that employees who are used to living sustainably will be much more likely to help environmental initiatives succeed at work. Create a green team to prioritize your efforts. You can make going green into a game or competition, challenging each department to decrease its footprint through recycling and more conscious energy use. Departments with the least landfill-bound trash, say, or the lowest electricity use in a quarter might earn a special lunch.

Environmental stewardship must be an ongoing commitment if we're to truly make a positive impact on the planet, for ourselves and for future generations. Promoting sustainable practices may not impact your bottom line immediately, but sticking to them over the long term will inevitably be good for business.

Page: Forbes

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