Getting Started with Sustainability in Your Business

Benefits of Sustainability in Business Environment

Promoting sustainability in your business is not an overnight adjustment. You need to slowly shift to transform. Sustainability is more than a buzzword, it’s a way of doing business which doesn’t hurt the environment. As it turns out, there is even a financial reward to shifting to sustainable operations.

Why You Should Invest in Sustainability In Your Business?

According to the Harvard Business Review, there are reputational and financial advantages to going green for a business. While you may take a financial hit temporarily, sustainable businesses gain benefits in the long term. These benefits can include subsidies and better insurance/loan rates.

For example, sustainable businesses have high environmental, social, and governance metrics (ESG). McKinsey’s research shows businesses with high ESG metrics outperform the market both in the medium and long term.

Here is how you can get started with sustainability in your business.

Getting the Basics of Sustainability Right For Your Business

Make Small Changes

Start small at your business by encouraging recycling, turning off unused lights, fans, and appliances, etc. You can also start using low energy electronics at the workplace and eliminating paper documents (going fully digital).

Incentivize Sustainability for Your Employees

You also need to push your employees and colleagues to go for the sustainable option every time. Only enforcing rules and hanging signs everywhere won’t do the trick.

Bank of America pays for an employee’s solar panel installation up to $500. Facebook offers employees $10,000 or more to move within 10 miles of its headquarters in California (cutting commute carbon emissions).

While you may not be able to promise such lofty prizes, you can promise a bonus for more sustainable practices. These incentives can reduce your overall power bill and keep your office cleaner.

Make Your Operations Greener

The biggest companies like Apple, Google, IKEA, etc. are doing their part for sustainability. Apple has committed to using green energy practices to power its manufacturing plants. Google has begun to reduce energy consumption at its data centers with their DeepMind AI. IKEA has begun using ocean-bound plastics to manufacture its products.

While it’s not economically feasible for every company to do this, you can start small. You can assess your supply chain or your partners to see if they’re green. You can perhaps switch to suppliers that utilize green practices.

These small steps can add up and go a long way to reducing your carbon footprint.

How is Corporate Sustainability Different from Corporate Social Responsibility?

There is a huge difference between giving to charity out of pocket, and actually running a soup kitchen. That’s the difference between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate sustainability.

While CSR emphasizes the charitable contributions of a company, and its ethical commitments. However, it doesn’t pertain to a company changing its own practices to benefit the community. Hence, corporate sustainability is a much better approach to giving back to the community. It beholdens a company to certain ethical standards which are baked into the DNA of the company itself.

To encourage sustainability in your business you should be focused on fairness and ethics across the board. CSR simply focuses on writing checks to organizations to clean up the mess. Committing cleaning up yourself, or to not making a mess in the first place is corporate sustainability.

Hence, corporate sustainability is a much more effective concept and practical outlook towards sustainability. Incorporating greener practices into your business’ operations and incentivizing sustainability for your employees is more effective than big donations.

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