Businesses large and small are moving toward sustainability. After recognizing the value of eco-friendly initiatives, many business owners have integrated them into their practices where they can. This trend came at the best possible time — consumers increasingly concern themselves with the “greenness” of their favorite goods and services. It’s no wonder they feel so strongly about the cause when considering the damage plants, animals and humans have sustained from climate change.
Companies cause a majority of the earth’s pollution and destruction due to unsustainable operations. They produce waste and use resources at astronomical rates — faster than many consumers can make up for. Only through a combination of individual efforts and industry rehauls can society move closer to a green future without the threat of global warming.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for ways to revamp your company or a techie interested in green business, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for five ways companies are ramping up their efforts to improve their sustainability.
1. Reduced Waste
Many businesses — such as banks and insurance companies — are going paperless to reduce the resources they use and the waste they produce. This optimization preserves trees and ecosystems while helping operations flow quickly. The paper industry uses 40% of all industrial wood traded globally, which can irreversibly affect forests and the species that occupy them.
Analyze your company’s production processes and note where you can make changes. Can you acquire better equipment for quicker processing? Would other available techniques use less waste without requiring you to pay thousands for new machinery? Upgrade for improved energy usage while accounting for your ROI. You’re bound to receive excellent returns when you use your business wisdom to implement long-lasting, sustainable efforts.
2. Employee Efforts
Companies such as Adidas, Interface and McKinsey & Company have created sustainable teams among their employees. These individuals develop green goals and communicate these objectives to the entire company — from entry-level to executive. They introduce eco-friendly practices into the workplace culture and ensure the organization does its part to uphold its sustainable claims. Employee efforts can be small projects like starting an in-office recycling program or major initiatives like establishing partnerships with green suppliers.
Green initiatives within the office can make their way outside to reach larger communities. For example, your company could fund nonprofit organizations or provide impoverished areas with valuable resources.
3. Sustainable Certification
Certification programs ensure companies maintain their eco-friendly practices rather than merely adopting the green label for monetary benefit. Certifications vary across industries, but some include LEED, SCS, Fair Trade U.S.A. and Energy Star. Your business could even receive tax credits and deductions for seeking certification and upholding eco-friendly practices.
Farmers and others in the agricultural field can benefit significantly from sustainable certification. People often worry about where their food comes from and who produces it, and they want proof of their goods’ safety. Farmers seeking certification undergo a series of criterion checks, including waste management, water quality and soil resources. Consumers can shop peacefully knowing their ingredients come from agriculturists who care about managing food quality.
Your company takes conservation seriously, but what about your partners and suppliers? Sustainability doesn’t end or begin with one corporation — it flows along a chain. A business can’t claim to be eco-friendly while ordering supplies from unethical or resource-intensive sources. Align with partners with similarly sustainable operations, and regularly monitor your supply chain to ensure humane practices.
Remember to factor in transportation when analyzing your supply chain. Are you contributing to fossil fuels in the atmosphere by transporting your products? Eliminating the shipping aspect isn’t feasible for many companies, but shortening the distance your products travel reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
5. Consumer Input
Every successful businessperson seeks feedback from the people keeping the company afloat — the customers. More individuals demand their preferred businesses to comply with sustainable standards, and companies are listening. A CGS survey reported that 47% of respondents would pay more for green products and services. Sustainability is both a lucrative and worthy cause, and companies will do well to take a cue from their patrons when switching to greener initiatives.
Offer surveys to your customers on how you can employ green efforts. Ask them what specific actions they’d like to see you take, such as reclaiming and recycling used products, improving your sourcing or donating to eco-friendly nonprofits.
Construct a Greener Business
Every organization can make a difference by lending itself to sustainability. When more companies revise their practices, more lives and ecosystems are saved. All it takes is one person within a business to make a change — be the catalyst for your colleagues.