We live in a society that is increasingly conscious of its impact on the environment. It is no longer simply a moral choice to ensure your business is environmentally sustainable, it is also the best business practice.
Each year Nielsen carries out a global survey of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries to assess their feelings towards businesses that pursue environmental sustainability. In 2015 it found that 58 percent of people are willing to pay more to businesses with sustainable practices, a remarkable increase on the 45 percent who said the same only four years earlier. Nielsen also found that in the previous 12 months sales by businesses with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability had grown globally by more than four percent, while those without grew by less than one percent.
Environmental sustainability is good for our planet, as it always has been, but now it also a great way to future proof your business. Here are some tips on meeting business challenges as you strive for greater sustainability.
You are by no means alone in following the business trend towards greater consciousness of the environment. The sensible companies you trade with are also becoming ever more aware of their global impact and that means they will be looking at the size of your footprint. One of the first aspects of your business they will examine is your level of carbon consumption. If you are not making an effort in at least this area they may cease dealing with you, as they will be concerned that your lack of sustainability may reflect on them.
The most obvious ways to reduce the amount of carbon consumed by your business is to reduce the amount of non-renewable energy that is used. There are a vast range of ways to do this - from something as simple as using more energy-efficient light bulbs, all the way up to covering the roof of your building with solar panels. You can also look at your transport arrangements, making sure they are as efficient as possible, and adopt a sustainable procurement policy that seeks to buy carbon-proofed goods from suppliers.
The most obvious way to reduce your level of waste is to cut back on the amount of paper that is carried out of your office every day, heading towards landfill. This can be achieved by having a strong recycling policy, but even better would be to simply use less paper. We're still a long way from the paperless offices that were being predicted decades ago, but it is possible to run your business with mostly digital documents.
It is also easy now to recycle most of the other waste that is produced by businesses, including computers and other electronics.
Try not to simply write policies about the environment, but encourage staff work hard at making sure these policies take effect as sustainable practices. You will find that yet another benefit is the pride they take in working for a business that is trying to do well by the planet, as it is not just consumers who are concerned about its future.