For sustained corporate success, businesses need to consider their impact on the environment as a whole as well as within their sector specifically. Business owners recognise the importance of developing eco-friendly practices within the company, but often these can be short-term measures. For true success, sustainability needs to be a long-term effort. Here are some tips on how to develop a long-term strategy for sustainability that works and how to make changes that will provide positive impact for many years to come, for your staff, clients and customers, and reputation alike.
Make it part of the company culture
As a business, you need everyone on board in order for practices and processes to be successful, and that includes sustainability. A company culture built around being environmentally aware makes it far easier for the business as a whole to reach any sustainability goals they may have. Education plays an important part in this – companies need to educate and train their staff on the importance of eco-friendly practices and the ways in which staff can contribute to a greener way of working, but there are other ways to get staff involved.
Working from home has become part of the norm for so many industries, but it does offer eco benefits in that it curbs commuting and the reliance on cars and public transport. If it’s possible for your business to allow employees to work from home, even on a part-time basis, then this can massively reduce the company’s carbon footprint. It can also be beneficial to appoint a ‘green team’ that can come up with new ideas on how the business can work in an eco-friendlier way and incentivise staff to take on a greener approach.
Invest in renewable energy
Renewable energy comes in various sources, from wind and water to sunlight. It’s the use of energy that comes from resources that are constantly replenished, unlike fossil fuels. This clean type of energy requires an upfront investment for businesses but it’s an investment into the long-term sustainability of your business and will, in just a short amount of time, actually provide a great return on investment.
Renewable energy can save your business money in the long-term, plus it’s far better for the planet – in fact, it’s the single most important thing that a business can do to reduce its carbon footprint. Solar power is one of the most popular options for businesses seeking renewable alternatives. It’s easy to install on most commercial premises, provides great returns and will bring your utility costs down, as well as boosting your business’ green reputation.
Ditch paper and go digital
The most environmentally-friendly way to use paper is to not use it at all. Yet so many businesses across many different industries still use paper on a daily basis, which aside from the environmental impact also costs businesses thousands every year. In today’s digital age, there’s no reason to rely on paper as we once did and it’s never been easier for businesses to operate in a paperless way. It may take some adjustments but the benefits are quickly noticeable.
Online billing, invoicing, document management and other previously paper-based tasks is a win-win for companies seeking a cost-effective and sustainable solution, and it’s easier for employees and clients too. It drastically increases physical storage space in the office, makes for easier filing systems, delivers better security and, naturally, it cuts down on paper waste. Many people will find that working digitally improves productivity and collaboration, as well as it being better for the planet overall, helping your business to operate and scale more effectively.
Businesses need to continually examine the ways in which they operate, to find new ways to reduce their environmental impact and adapt to new and innovative solutions. Getting employees from across the entire business involved will help in finding innovative ways to work, along with speaking to suppliers about how manufacturing or distribution processes can be adapted to suit your business’ new green initiatives. Not only will these solutions help minimise the carbon footprint of the business, but in many cases they can also help to provide greater efficiency and lower operational costs.
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