Since the idea of sustainability came to the fore in 1987, the concept has made its way into our everyday lives, including how business is done.
With today’s consumer being more knowledgeable than at any other time before, sustainability has become a deciding factor for consumers to engage or shun a business.
How do you get around building and running a sustainable enterprise? Here are a few ideas to help you out.
1. Create a Mission Statement
A mission statement tells people what you stand for right off the bat. It also helps you think through your sustainability philosophy and get clarity on how far you want to adopt these principles.
To develop this, consult widely with your stakeholders and management team to come up with two or three sentences that encapsulate what you envision your green initiative to be and how you will action it.
2. Embed it in Your Organization’s DNA
Your organizational culture speaks to your values and personality as a business.
One of the things genuinely sustainable companies do to walk the walk is by getting all members of their teams on board.
One way to do this is by making your sustainability efforts a key component of employee induction.
Highlight why you aim to run sustainably, the specific ways you do this, and how employees are expected to advance this cause.
Remember, as management focuses on the larger issues surrounding your green initiatives, employees can take up smaller, yet significant actions as well.
3. Support and Collaborate
Many businesses around you and across the globe share a similar vision as yourself on matters of the environment. If you are opening a small restaurant, for example, the Social Food Project can serve as an invaluable benchmark.
Make a point to seek them out, partner, build joint campaigns and learn on their efforts as well as how to run a sustainable business more affordably.
Bring your customers on board as well, and get their support on matters of sustainability as well. Because this is a global concern, you will accomplish a lot more by working collaboratively with others.
4. Have a Point Person
In the fast-paced business world, it’s easy to lose sight of certain things, more so when they do not immediately affect business processes.
Your green initiative is one of the things that can quickly be overrun by other business operations.
To prevent this, have a point person, flagged by an internal team to champion the cause. This team can participate in seminars and industry events, then head the implementation processes within your business.
This will help you remain on track with your mission statement, without taking away from core business functions.
5. Mind the Small Stuff
The little things you ignore could add up to create significant environmental damage.
Seemingly minor aspects of your routine such as printing, work lunches, shipping and transportation contribute in increasing your businesses carbon footprint.
Take small changes like printing on both sides of printing paper or waiting for orders to accumulate before shipment.
These might seem futile on the surface, but they are not. When replicated in millions of organizations around the world, these small actions make a significant impact.
6. Allocate Resources
While sustainability will pay off in the long run, you need to invest in it initially.
Some of the gains your business can enjoy from having a green initiative is higher profits, more willing investors, and even attracting like-minded employees.
However, as you start off, you must avail funds and time to go towards the implementation of your mission statement.
The premise behind sustainability –ensuring a safe environment today and in future- is inarguably important.
Use these tips as a starting point to build a sustainable business and to champion the cause. Aside from the gains to your business, your contribution to future generations will not be unappreciated.