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Sustainability is about making decisions that will meet your needs without compromising those of future generations. Those decisions can be personal, or business related and in the case of this blog, I’m going to be talking about business decisions and how you should not shy away from shouting about positive contributions you are making.
Areas of sustainability
As you might be aware of by now, there are three pillars of sustainability which we should be aware of to ensure we know how to make small but effective changes:
I’ve said, ‘small but effective changes’, as one of the most common phrases I hear when discussing sustainability with individuals, is, “but what difference can I possibly make, I’m just one person?”
To that, I say all revolutions and movements begin with a single thought or an ideal, often had by one person and then shared by many. So, imagine if more of us forgot the notion of being a single entity or just one small business, and remembered we were part of an entire species that can enact positive change if we choose.
How can my business make sustainable changes?
As human beings, and especially as business owners, we tend to follow best practice to enhance processes in our businesses and meet the needs of our team. We look at how we could invest our money ethically and ensure our supply chains are treating people fairly.
If you as a business owner saw something a rival company was doing that had a positive impact on the planet, on people or on profits, would you feel the need to do the same?
I would guess the answer is ‘yes’ and here’s why…
…to be good, it’s better to do good.
So, if your business has already made sustainable changes, no matter how small, then it’s time you shone a light on what exactly it is you are doing.
Lead by example and show your peers exactly how they could do better and therefore be better. It’s time to contribute sustainably to the world in which we all live and which one day, we will leave behind.
Make sure there is enough for everyone.
My business has made numerous changes already and I want to inspire others!
If your business, like many others out there has already made numerous sustainable changes, then you are leading the way. You must shine a light on what you are doing to allow other businesses to follow suit.
Here are some tips on how you can do that!
- Ensure you state on your website that you work to sustainable practices and even list what these are
- Put messages on your work vehicles if you use renewable energy or implement other sustainable and ethical practices. It’s free advertising and also helps paint a great picture of your company.
- Let people know on the bottom of your email what changes you have implemented. Who knows who you could inspire – you don’t always need to get your message in front of the CEO for other businesses to be inspired.
- Make sure your staff know what measures are in place – but no need to do this through a newsletter, posters or emails, simply create screen savers. That way they will be reminder every time they take a break and come back from lunch!
- Ensure you post on social media about the good you are doing, the charities you support or the people your business is helping. If no one knows you are doing ‘good’, how will they be inspired to follow your lead?
- If you are using less packaging, why not actually state this on your packaging and let customers know where it has come from or if it is recycled?
I want to do good but where else can I start?
Here are just a few ways you could improve sustainability in your business:
- Looking at ways your employees could work from home or on a rota basis so you can downsize into smaller offices – Flexibility is the key for happier staff too.
- Minimise waste – identify and eliminate sources of waste, promoting recycling or aftermarket and avoiding landfill, enabling circular economy.
- Sponsor local sports teams – help with their kit or equipment. Great advertising opportunity too!
- Sponsor a charity and don’t be afraid to shout about it! Having a social conscience is nothing to be quiet about.
- Encourage your staff to do volunteer hours in the community.
- Share environmental and sustainability policies with suppliers and customers
- Avoid plastic – evaluate use of materials and consider total environmental burden, sourcing portfolio redesign for minimum total impact.
- Take the stairs, cycle to work or encourage car-pooling
- Switch to green energy where possible
- Buy in bulk – reduce the number of orders required by buying more to save in the future. If you are a small business, can you unite with another, similar business to help reduce waste?
- If your business invests, can you invest in ESG funds?
- Collaborate with other businesses – can you use their waste product or offer them yours? After all, one business’s waste is another’s raw material.
- Buy Fairtrade produce for the staffroom such as coffee, sugar, tea, milk and even biscuits!
- Hold a ‘Fruit Friday’ once a month where you treat your staff to healthy treats
- Source renewable energy
- Have an electric car charging point at work (government grants are available)
- Ask any cleaning staff you have to use natural products over disinfectants and reusable cloths
We are all personally responsible for taking steps towards sustainability. We shouldn’t be coerced or forced into it – after all, any positive changes we make now will positively impact and directly affect the lives of our children’s children.
Whether we see the impact or not, one positive change can make ripples far beyond what we imagine.
For more about my professional and personal coaching packages, feel free to get in touch today and book your no obligation, 15-minute coffee and connect session!
This article was written by: YouTree