While every company has a different level of impact, in 2021, going green should not only be a business incentive, but a responsibility all businesses should take on as part of our society.
It’s not only about changing our products and how we sell them, but about setting an example for others through action. This means putting into practice what we preach, regardless of the economic incentives we see in green culture.
Here are some ways you can begin to truly transform your company into a sustainable business:
1. Turn sustainability into a core company value.
Place sustainability at the center of your company values. When everything is linked to a core value, there is a much lower risk of making decisions that result in negative practices for the environment. Share resources, join coalitions, attend conferences and create spaces for discussion, engage sustainability experts and make sustainable collaboration not only a part of the company identity but a part of the job. The most important thing is to commit to being informed and avoid staying on a superficial, trending-topic level of sustainability practices.
2. Set a long-term vision.
One green campaign to show you’re on the right side is not enough. Making eco-practices part of the company’s long-term strategy can revolutionize the way your company is built and what you thought the future of your company would be. In order to avoid surface level initiatives (sustainability initiatives used to improve a brand’s image but which do not actually generate change) you must weave green practices as deep as possible into your company core. That means considering changes to your products, office dynamics, current partnerships, and more. Ask yourself: what can my company do in the next 10 years to create real positive impact?
3. Offer eco-friendly benefits for employees.
Remote work a couple of days a week, public transit commuter benefits (like subsidized passes), time off to volunteer, Employer-Sponsored Savings Plan with Sustainable Investment: these are just some of the benefits you can offer employees to generate a sustainability-centered culture. It’s also a great way to keep them motivated!
4. Be transparent.
Real eco-friendly businesses know it’s a work in progress and aren’t afraid to admit it. They, like consumers, have to make a daily effort to change and improve. This is a good way to earn people’s trust, but it is also a great way to keep your goals in check and ensure you are on track to meet them.
5. Build a sustainable work environment.
From making energy efficient upgrades to using green web hosting services and eliminating plastics from the office: look at the work space and ask where there is an opportunity for real change. Saving the planet also helps you save money, as many of the changes you can make help reduce costs.
And, when you think about the amount of time employees spend at work, it’s easy to see an opportunity to develop positive habits that they will later take home.
6. Do business with green businesses.
Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are. The best way to keep on your green toes is to choose to do business and partner with those who are on the same track. Food and beverage brands, software companies, airlines and hotels, there are many carbon-neutral options out there across every industry, and they’re worth finding.
7. There’s no competitors when it comes to the climate crisis.
To have a truly sustainable brand competitors have to become allies. Patagonia is a great example of what it means to be an ally against a bigger enemy. They shared their plant-based replacement for neoprene with other outdoors gear companies so that they could use it in their products as well. Sharing is caring, and so is collaborating. Find ways to innovate together with like-minded companies. Co-develop solutions and create dialogue.
Build a different kind of company. One that is betting on a better future for everyone.