The Benefits to Sustainability in Business
Modern businesses have a social and environmental obligation to operate sustainably. Being a sustainable business means changing your practices to better support the health of our planet and the people who live here. Sustainability in business means considering your company’s effects on society and mitigating the negative impacts. Because our actions today have long-lasting consequences, it’s important to consider what effect your business has on the environment. Promoting environmentally protective practices in your business is a strong stance that encourages change in the way that companies everywhere interact with the world. Transitioning to a greener approach to your business can have a tremendous impact on:
- Your customers, as they will feel better when supporting an environmentally conscious business.
- Your personal wellbeing and mental health, as you work towards a good cause.
- The local community, as other local businesses follow your lead.
- Your social media presence, as people rally to support your goals.
The Importance of Sustainability
Sustainability is a highly important aspect of your business. Not only is it the morally right choice to nurture a healthier environment for the future, promoting sustainability is also an important part of your company’s relationship with your customers and your community. Being a business that cares about people is a social good that rewards consumers for supporting you. People value how their products are created and sourced, and they often prefer to patronize businesses that are environmentally conscious. While many business leaders might have doubts towards the sustainability movement, those that embrace it often see fantastic growth in their following. It is possible to scale back your company’s environmental impacts while still growing revenue and reaching a wider audience.
Making Environmental Changes
There are many ways that you can alter your business practices to become more environmentally friendly. Examining your physical goods, both in material and origin, is a great way to put the environment first. Switching over to more sustainable materials reduces your carbon footprint, as well as helping keep your products out of landfills. Try reducing your usage of plastics and engineered metals. There are many sustainable materials that can replace more commonplace nonrenewable resources. Many varieties of wood and bioplastics can serve as sufficient substitutes to many non-compostable materials.
• Physical Goods
While you look at your products’ material composition, it is a great time to consider your supply chain logistics. Transporting materials across vast distances has a high carbon cost. Shipping items by plane, train, or automobile burns large amounts of fuel that directly damages our environment. Locally sourced materials and items are far better for the planet because they reduce the distance that your items need to travel, cutting those carbon emissions down significantly. In addition to cutting down on fuel emissions, purchasing from local suppliers keeps your money nearby. This helps the local economy, benefiting local businesses and consumers alike, as your money continues to circulate among the local population.
Even if you run a business that doesn’t deal in physical products, there are ways that you can reduce the waste generated from any services that you offer. The easiest and most universal way to do this is to decrease your travel. With the upswing of video services like Zoom, the recent innovations in technology have made it easier than ever to meet virtually. Consider changing your plans and meeting over video instead of driving or flying to your destination.
In addition to promoting a healthier environment, meeting virtually saves you time and fuel costs. Instead of waiting in traffic or coordinating airport logistics, you could make yourself a cup of coffee or go over your presentation one more time. It is a gift to yourself as much as to the environment. Try to save long-distance travel for special occasions and take advantage of business-related travel when it comes around. Planning a work and play “vacation” is a great way to get the most out of a plane ticket (and the jet fuel it consumes).
Customers Put Value on Their Values
While environmentally conscious change makes sense morally, some skeptical business owners might write this movement off prematurely as an unnecessary business complication. However, making changes to increase sustainability can have a tremendous positive impact on your customers and your overall profits. Customers are willing to spend more money on products and services that support their values, such as environmental preservation or the support of local artists. Creating products with your customers’ values in mind will build positive responses in both sales and customer opinions.
Get The Word Out
Making these changes is most effective for your business when you share them. Positive changes to your business model are a great opportunity to share content on your social platforms. Getting this information to current and future customers informs them that your business is taking a stance for the betterment of the world. Whatever your preferred communication method is, be it social media, email newsletters, your website, or some other means, the actions that you take are good things to share. Communicating your values as a company gives people a reason to support you beyond the products that you create and the services you provide. It establishes your company as a good player in the commercial landscape and customers will want to keep up with your business to see what you do next.
For more information, check out 5 Simple Ways to Start Using Social Media to Build Business.
Becoming a more sustainable business is a choice that reflects a desire for a better world, actuated through difficult (but necessary) change. Improving your business’s relationship to the environment will have lasting, positive effects on your company and your customers. And, while you reexamine your relationship with the world and its resources, remember that pursuing improvement is a never-ending process. Avoid the trap of chasing perfection, of going perfectly “zero” waste, or committing to a complete departure from fossil fuels entirely. These goals are not attainable, but they are good ideals to strive towards. Regardless of how you act, taking a stance for the betterment of the world and your community is an admirable act.
If you want to learn more about becoming a sustainable business, you can visit the epa.gov – Greener Living website to help get you started.