The internet is full of information. We are more aware of how food affects our bodies, how companies treat the environment, or what the Kardashians are wearing. One bad story can go viral within moments.
Fulfilling your duty to the environment should be for your company's best interest plus keeping bad publicity off your plate is not bad either. Maintaining green initiatives within your organization will not only save your business money, but it will get all of us one step closer to leaving a better environment for our children.
What does the environment have to do with sustainability?
The word sustainability is often confused with making your business environmentally green. Taking care of mother earth is only one part of a sustainable business. There are three main pillars: economic, environmental and social. These three components are informally referred to as people, planet, and profits.
Being sustainable affects the organization as a whole, not just one piece. It means to streamline the business, so it helps the environment, the people in the community, and your bottom line. Sustainability is about being a great contributor to your employees, and it’s surroundings.
What about the environment?
Companies have found that many of the environmental wins can also have a positive financial impact. You get what you pay for. If you invest a little in being a little more "green," your company will end up reaping the benefits in the long run.
Remember when your mom told you to turn off the lights when you leave the room. She probably did that because an electricity bill is pretty hefty if you are careless. The same goes with conserving energy. Turn off the lights or equipment if it is not in use.
Some companies have installed motion sensor lights that automatically shut off when someone is not working in the area. Adding this feature will not only save you money on your energy bill, but it will leave you with less to do at night when everyone is gone. No need to shut off the lights because it was already done for you.
Try using LED lights. Not only do they last longer but they use less energy than the incandescent light bulb. They are a little on the pricey side but again, they last longer. By the time you run out of 10 incandescent lights, the LED light is still going strong.
Also, do not buy disposable plates, silverware, or napkins. Those will end up in a dump somewhere and will never decompose. Instead, create a green initiative in your office for your employees to use their mugs, plates, and silver.
Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
Remember that commercial with the catchy jingle from the 80s? Recycle, Reduce, Reuse and close the loop. All of the Magic School Bus learning will now come in handy. Use only renewable or recyclable materials at your manufacturing plant. If you work with your vendors, they will probably give you an incentive for reusing or recycling their materials with them.
The impossible is now possible. There are so many solutions to creating a truly paperless work environment. I know some of us have Baby Boomer bosses who are dead set on getting their reports printed on paper. Convince them that by not printing those 50-page reports every week they will save "x" amount of dollars.
Also, those handy messages at the end of your email saying, “Think twice before printing” will help cut down on emails being printed at other organizations. You will be doing your environmental duty not only at your office but whoever is on your contact list.
Work with your staff
Change management starts from the top. If you want your employees to change, you have to change first. You can start by integrating and enforcing recycling practices. By seeing their boss commit to an environmental initiative, they will have no choice but to follow suit.
Also, consider starting a transportation program like subsidizing costs for public transportation or arrange carpools. You could also encourage employees to telecommute and work from home if their jobs do not require them to be in an office setting. You'll save energy, and they'll save gas money.
Commit to being a "green company."
Surround yourself with like-minded people and businesses. Try to work with only companies who have similar green initiatives as you to encourage those who want to work with you to follow suit.
Companies like Disney encourage their vendors to keep the environment in mind for their practices. They rank businesses by their initiatives and choose whether to work with them based on merit.
Other organizations will only have the choice to follow your path to work with you. If you commit to your environment and ask that others do the same, it will be no time before every company is doing the same thing.
A 2016 report from the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing and Bloomberg LLC shows that among 402 asset managers, 89% were familiar with sustainable investing and 65% practiced sustainable investing in some form.
Industries that have the highest percentage of companies with a sustainability strategy are in chemicals, energy and utilities, industrial goods and services, and machinery. They are regulated which means they have rules to follow that require them to do good for the environment. The energy industry seems to enter the news more often than not because of their careless pursuit of oil. In 2010, the BP oil spill was a result of not following these regulations as they should and trying to cut corners as much as possible.
Taking responsibility for the future of the planet is everyone’s responsibility. Some organizations look to find ways to increase their bottom line by cutting out their sustainable initiatives because they do not see the immediate outcome. However, in the long run, they are hurting themselves more than helping.
For more information on how to fulfill your company’s environmental duties, contact the professionals at 10twelve.