Sustainability is an important part of running a successful business and being future proof. Literally. As the world continues to become more aware of the dangers of climate change and the need to reduce our environmental footprint, companies must also take steps to become more sustainable. Earlier, we already wrote about offices with sustainability certifications being on the rise, and having a 21% higher rental income.
Business sustainability is all about finding the right balance between economic growth and environmental protection. It’s not just about reducing your company’s carbon footprint, but also about creating a positive, ethical and sustainable culture within your organization and community. It is the need to grow, evolve and in the end find the perfect balance for both people and planet.
The need for sustainable businesses
The need for businesses to be more sustainable driven is rising profoundly. We see a big trend in businesses being converted into more sustainable environments. The reason for this can be deducted mainly out of two reasons: The first reason is that the people working in the office value a sustainable work approach and have certain standards or requirements when it comes to sustainability and the way it operates. We now see the dangers of climate change and the need to reduce our footprint all around us. Secondly, politics are slowly following these footsteps and the need to step up. Rules and legislation are rising in terms of sustainability. For example the new corporate sustainability directive (CSRD) and the enforcement of the deposit of cans and small bottles.
Sustainability in business is more important than ever before. With the growing concern for the environment and the need for companies to reduce their carbon footprint, businesses must take steps to become more sustainable. Not only is it good for the planet, but it can also lead to cost savings and increased productivity. Here is a step-by-step plan for businesses to become more sustainable:
Step 1: Assess your current sustainability practices
The first step in becoming more sustainable is to assess your current practices. Look at your energy and water usage, waste management, and transportation. Identify areas where you can make improvements. This will give you an idea of where your business is currently at and where improvements can be made. Here, you can read more about the different sustainability certificates.
Step 2: Set Sustainable Goals
Once you have assessed your current impact, set sustainable goals for your business. These goals should be specific, measurable, and achievable (SMART). For example, a goal could be to reduce energy usage by 20% over the next year.
By making the goal SMART, you an monitor your changes and set a target together with a deadline.
Step 3: Implement energy- and resource-efficient practices
Once you have set your sustainable goals, it is time to start implementing sustainable practices.
One of the easiest ways to become more sustainable is to implement energy-efficient practices. This can include using energy-efficient lighting and appliances, turning off lights and equipment when not in use and implementing a recycling or zero-waste program. Additionally, consider investing in renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels.
Investing in sustainable technologies such as the Aquablu water dispenser can help lower your company’s environmental impact. By using the water dispenser over bottled or canned drinks, companies minimize their single-use plastic waste. This solution is in many business cases both sustainable as profitable.
Green building materials and energy–efficient lighting can also help in being more sustainable. These building materials are made from sustainable materials, such as bamboo and recycled plastic. They are also more energy–efficient than traditional materials.
Step 4: Reduce, Reuse, Refill
This has been our slogan since the beginning of starting our scale-up: reduce, reuse and refill. Reducing, reusing, and recycling is a vital part of sustainability. Implementing a recycling program can help to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills. However, we think recycling is not the holy grail. Since more than 80% still ends up in our environment and most of the plastics never get recycled. If we continue this way, there will soon be more plastic than fish in our oceans. But we have the means to change that. Consider ways to reduce the use of disposable products and to find ways to reuse materials. With our watercooler for offices and retail, we try to change the way people hydrate into a more sustainable way. By cutting out the single use plastic and waste, and focus on circularity.
Step 5: Encourage Sustainable Transportation
Encourage sustainable transportation by providing incentives for employees who carpool, bike, or take public transportation. Additionally, consider offering telecommuting options to reduce the number of employees who need to commute to the office. Facilitate hybrid working so that employees do not have to transport themselves to work every day and offices (and lights/energy/etc) can be turned off for the day. Companies can get really creative with this step!
Step 6: Engage employees and customers
Finally, but definitely not least: engage employees and customers in your sustainability efforts. This step is often overlooked by companies, while encouraging each other to achieve a more sustainable approach is actually very important. By changing people’s behavior and motivate them slowly into a more sustainable approach, a sustainable shift can be made for the long-term.
Encourage employees to take ownership of the sustainability initiatives and provide training and education on sustainable practices. Share your sustainability efforts with customers through your website, social media, and in-store signage.
Step 7: Monitor and Evaluate Progress
Monitor and evaluate your progress towards your sustainable goals. This will help you identify areas where you need to make additional changes and will also allow you to communicate your progress to your employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
By following these steps and implementing sustainable practices, businesses can reduce their impact on the environment, save money and improve their reputation as a socially responsible company. As a business owner, you can be proud of the positive impact you are making and watch as your customers, employees and the community all benefit from your actions.