Sustainable business practices look beyond immediate profits and support a broader set of goals; they are economically viable, socially responsible, and environmentally friendly. Successful entrepreneur, Jason Kulpa, is a long-time champion of these business ideals; here, he details examples of sustainable business practices and explains why they are so important.
Following these practices will help your business create and implement meaningful sustainability goals.
Make sustainability a priority – For a company’s sustainability intentions to have meaning and survive long term, they must be a priority and integrated into all business objectives and goals. If sustainability is woven into the fabric of the corporate culture, it will endure and thrive.
The business executive in charge of the company’s environmental programs should have measurable results as part of their key performance indicators (KPIs)
Involve employees – Trying to push sustainable practices onto the workforce is rarely effective. Employees will resist what they haven’t bought into, and they won’t buy into something they don’t understand. Teach the benefits and necessity of sustainability to all employees.
You can get employees involved by offering paid time off to plant trees or pick up trash at the beach or a park. Activities like this will reinforce the company’s commitment to sustainable practices and create social events that help employee productivity.
Conserve water and electricity – Every company can do its part in conserving natural resources. Invest in more efficient processes and equipment. If sustainability is a part of the corporate culture, each purchase of equipment, fixtures, tools, and supplies will be examined from a sustainability perspective.
Support sustainable vendors – Having and enforcing a policy that gives preference to vendors that demonstrate a minimum level of commitment to sustainable practices in their business has a two-fold benefit.
Your company will be the consumer of less wasteful products and will, at the same time, promote sustainability across the company’s vendor and supplier ecosystem.
Recycle and use recycled materials – Recycling waste materials and trash will benefit the environment, create more sustainable industry jobs, and send a message to your customers and employees that being environmentally responsible is vital to your company. Buying recycled materials, whenever possible, supports other companies trying to do their part as well.
Move toward renewable energy – Solar panels and wind turbines are becoming more and more efficient and affordable. Next time your company needs to upgrade its utility infrastructure, include as many renewable energy solutions as possible. If you’ve already gone solar, battery energy storage can help you leverage the full potential of your solar panels. By storing the excess energy your solar panels produce, solar-plus-storage provides a reliable, low-cost power backup option so when the sun goes down, the clouds roll in, or the lights go off in your community, you always have power on hand and savings in store.
Use energy-efficient products – For everything from light bulbs to electrical appliances and equipment, there are energy-efficient options available. They may not be the least expensive choice, but in the long run, they will be the best choice for both your company and the environment.
Develop sustainability policies – Temporary programs, one-time events, rhetoric, and posters around the office will not carry the day for sustainability. Real enforceable policies must be developed and implemented company-wide. Every department should have directives and goals that support the overall sustainability practices of the company.
If possible, hire or promote from within the company, a Chief Sustainability Officer. This corporate-level executive should be tasked with developing and implementing the company’s sustainability policies. He or she should be given authority to bring into question any decisions or practices that, on the surface, seem inconsistent with the stated sustainability goals.