Sustainability has become a game changer in the world of business. As of 2020, nearly 57% of consumers were willing to change their purchasing habits to benefit the environment. Even more individuals think sustainability is important. If you own a business and you don’t currently have any sustainability efforts in mind, there has never been a better time to start taking greener steps.
Sustainability efforts will keep you competitive. Across all industries, 62% of executives think it’s a necessary part of any successful strategy.
Why is it so important for businesses to be more sustainable? It’s more than just a trend. More information is presented every day about the effects of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and the impact of waste on our planet. People are becoming more interested in what they can do to fight back against these problems without changing too much in their lives.
The products they buy and the companies they support are great places to start.
So, how can you successfully incorporate sustainability into your business and maintain a competitive edge in this greener world?
Create a Sustainable Strategy
Your sustainability efforts should be much more than a marketing strategy. But, you can approach them the same way. Having a plan in place will make it easier to execute the important things.
Your strategy should help you to decide what you want your major efforts to include. Consider some of the following if you’re feeling stuck:
- Green recruitment and hiring
- Going green in your marketing efforts to let consumers know what you’re doing
- Cloud computing
- LED Lighting
- Policy updates
The best sustainable practices in business tend to utilize technology to make things greener. For example, Microsoft is one of the major corporations leading the way with cloud computing systems. These systems can replace more “traditional” printing methods, saving paper and using less electricity.
IKEA is another major company dedicated to sustainability. They are focused on renewable energy and eco-friendlier material sourcing. If you were to do your research on just about any national or global corporation, you would find some kind of green initiative, whether their strategy is big or small. Get your business on board with a strategy of your own by deciding what’s feasible for you, and creating long-term goals for a more sustainable future.
Make Everyday Operations Eco-Friendlier
Creating a sustainable strategy is an important key to long-term success in your greener endeavors. But, there are things you can do right now to make your everyday operations more sustainable:
- Offering remote work options
- Banning the use of plastic cups, silverware, and bags in your business
- Establishing an in-house recycling program
- Turning off monitors and computers each day
- Encouraging carpooling to work
Implementing changes takes time. Your whole team needs to be on board, which is why having both short- and long-term goals is helpful. When everyone understands the purpose of your efforts, they’ll be more willing to do their part.
As a result, your business can start to “show off” its greener initiatives and let your consumers know about the things you’re doing. You can start small with changes in your building. But, your long-term strategy might include everything from supply chain switches to using eco-friendlier packaging.
Your marketing team, in particular, will love being able to tout your efforts, so keep them in the loop when it comes to every change you’re making. Just make sure you’re going about those changes the right way. If not, you could be deceiving consumers, rather than offering them something they truly want.
Be Environmentally Ethical
Because the sustainability movement has become so important, many businesses are jumping on board. Unfortunately, others appear to be doing something good but could be blurring the lines.
When a business excels in its marketing efforts, it’s usually considered a good thing. Whether it’s a particular campaign or a complete branding change, a successful marketing endeavor can boost any business’s bottom line.
But, what’s the real cost? Unfortunately, sometimes, it’s honesty.
Some companies have started to openly advertise themselves and/or their products as “eco-friendlier” than they really are. This is a process called greenwashing. It’s an unethical marketing technique that makes it easy for consumers to believe they’re using something good for the environment when that probably isn’t the case.
Businesses will use words like “organic,” “natural,” or “pure” to appeal to those who want to buy sustainable products. But, these are often nothing more than buzzwords.
Examples of greenwashing include:
- Generic language
- No proof of sustainability
- Lack of transparency
If your business truly wants to incorporate more sustainability, make sure you’re completely open and honest about your efforts and show proof of what you’re doing. From switching to more sustainable production methods to developing company-wide recycling policies, every little bit helps. Your consumers will notice that and appreciate your efforts, especially when you’re being honest.