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How to Unify Sustainability Across your Business

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Sustainability is the way in which businesses institute practices that meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. These practices, ideally, support ecological, human and economic practices. Today, sustainability is more than a buzzword companies use to appear politically correct on the global stage. Globally, businesses have reacted in response to this changing social and environmental, especially when the issues directly affect business interest. To keep up with current trends, implementing sustainability throughout their companies can be done in a few ways.

Companies should establish a sustainability mission that sets clear goals and objectives. This plan should include eco-efficiency programs, management infrastructure, marketing programs and strategic initiatives. These goals and objectives should be spearheaded by an expert in sustainability management, and the goals should be ambitious. For example, one goal can be to reduce the amount of electricity the company uses in a billing cycle by a certain time, and an objective can be to research alternative power sources that will help meet this goal. Other objectives as they relate to this particular goal can relate to actually replacing the power source. More importantly, this goal and the respective objectives have to be conveyed across the entire business in the implementation stages.

Another way in which businesses can implement sustainability is by engaging business partners, and this is for a number of reasons.The first one is to make sure new sustainability policies align with other business partners in the community. Engaging with other business people can also give sustainability leaders the opportunity to learn about what other people in the business community aredoing to practice sustainability in their own companies. Engaging with others in the business community helps everyone develop good business practices that affect the industry across the board. Plus, these practices can set the industry standard. Through streamlining information across the industry, the company avoids issues that might interfere with business interactions later on.

Once engaging the business community, engage customers and the overall community as well. Businesses can engage with community in a few different ways, for example, spearheading projects or initiatives that focus on one idea,such as the Spark Something Good initiative that asks the community to get involved in projects around the UK. These projects do not have to be a major campaign, either. They can be as simple as advertising environmentally friendly or fair-trade products or services. The important factor is to influence customers to understand the benefits of responsible consumption, whether it involves recycling or carpooling to work. For example, Charles Phillips, CFO of Infor, is credited with setting the industry standard for sustainability in a number of industries in this way. This company has taken an innovative approach in transforming companies with technology.Some of the ways in which this company has addressed sustainability have been through their own internal creative agencies that focus on experience design, hackathons and co-innovation.

The most important part of implementing sustainability throughout a company involves communicating these goals and objectives to every employee. Everyone, regardless of position, should not only be informed as it relates to sustainability goals, but should be given clear directives as to their part in completing these objectives and accomplishing goals. Because communicating this information to each employee in a company can be difficult, especially for larger organizations, it is important to delegate to department heads the goals and objectives related to their part in making the company sustainable, as opposed to sending an email or relying on a department head to disseminate this information.

Even smaller organizations that rely on event marketing at trade shows are taking many steps to minimize their carbon footprint. According to Indy Displays, these steps include:

  • Using recyclable aluminum frames
  • Using lightweight, portable booths to minimize freight costs from fuel
  • Printing graphics on recycled materials

Once sustainability standards are established and a plan has been circulated to all employees, companies can make sure that employees are abiding by sustainability plans just by setting an agenda for tasks to be completed. Prioritizing tasks is important in determining what gets completed when. Set a timeline in which departments have to complete these tasks. All does not have to be doom and gloom,as implementing new policies is an opportunity to have fun and enjoy the process. Companies can make sure that their employees are following through with the policy changes by constantly reviewing and evaluating progress throughout the process of converting to sustainability systems.

Sustainability is no longer the future of business. Sustainability is now a current, important concept and business practice that has fueled whole industries to operate differently in an effort to make a future for generations to come.Sustainability is defining business practices and the companies that use it for the betterment of mankind.

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