What Does Sustainability Mean When it Comes to Your Business

Sustainability can mean the effect that your business has on the environment as well as its impact on society.

April is Earth month and it’s become a time when leaders, environmental activists, and people all over the world meet and discuss the challenges of protecting the planet’s natural resources. It’s a month of awareness to create sustainable development practices, offer climate solutions, and minimize our carbon footprint. This should apply in our personal and business lives.

In business, sustainability refers to conducting business without negatively impacting the environment, community, or society as a whole. Sustainable practices create lasting positive effects in the environment and can also address social injustices and inequalities.

How can you implement some of the practices that can make your business sustainable? By taking a look at some of these areas, you can assess your current level of sustainability.
• Are you using sustainable materials in your production process
• Are you using renewable energy to power your business and/or being conscientious of your energy usage
• Is your business involved in community or educational events.
• What is the tone of your company culture when it comes to sustainability.
• Are you conscientious of your company’s carbon footprint and waste.
Mission Goals
Once you’ve looked at those areas, you can start to craft your company’s mission goals for improved sustainability. A clear message to your customers, vendors, and suppliers is an important part of defining your values and purpose as a sustainable business. Your mission statement should capture the “why you do what you do and how will you do it”.
In addressing these things, you should make sure that the solutions are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timed.

Strategy

Your strategy should ensure that your business is remaining profitable. Some of the efforts that you put into creating more sustainable efforts may actually reduce your overhead and make you more profitable. Your plans should consider the impact to your profits, people and the planet. With these 3 things in mind  you’ll be able to eliminate some waste and excess.

Don’t become overwhelmed in trying to do everything at once. Small changes are important in changing the company culture to think more often in terms of sustainability. Keep little things in mind like turning off electricity and heat at the end of the day or recycling toner, paper, etc.

When it comes to products, the materials you use should incorporate sustainability. Sometimes this may raise the cost of your product. Many customers today are willing to pay a little more if there is brand awareness that your product is doing something good for the environment or society, or donating a portion of the profits to an organization doing something positive.

Transparency is also important for assessing and improving sustainability practices. An open environment in your company and with the community will improve your company’s performance by setting the bar. It can also help to recognize any improvements that can be made in your sustainability practices.

 

Assessment

As you implement your strategy, review regularly that you remain aligned to your mission and note what positive impact these changes are making.

If you’ve pledged results, make sure you’re achieving them. It can be challenging to stay on task and continue adding more sustainable practices but when your mission becomes a purpose, you create a powerful message to your customers that can improve your bottom line.

 

Related Content:

How to Embrace Sustainability in Your Business and Bottom Line

Sustainability Goals for Your Business

Sustainability Sells, Just Ask Walmart

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