Build a Sustainable Company – It’s Good for You.

Build a Sustainable Company – It’s Good for You.

Changes in Stride

As the world collectively takes more and more changes in stride, all corners of our lives experience the ripple effect that is collective change. Our schools, homes, and work environments are enduring drastic shifts in standards, norms, and values. It’s certainly important that we keep up with those shifts. 

The ideal work environment, however, is something that needs to be paid a little extra attention due to the fact that most of us spend so much time interacting with it, and will forever be enduring the changes that accompany it. 

As Gen-Z and Millenials flood the modern work environment, their preferences heighten in regards to eco-consciousness. 

According to a survey conducted by Fast Company, more than 70% of respondents said they were likely to make the choice to work for a company with bright sustainability standards. In fact, millennials said they were willing to take a pay cut between $5,000 and $10,000 if the company was on a green agenda. 

A different survey conducted in 2016 reported that 64% of millennials expressed a disinterest in companies that weren’t socially responsible. Nearly 75% of respondents said they’d be willing to take a smaller salary if they were able to work for a company that aligned with their values.

Why is a sustainable business important?

A sustainable business goes much deeper than simply doing the right thing for the environment; that should be the baseline. It’s more so about sustainability being a beneficial element to business function and relevance overall. It’s an attractive quality to those in search of a job with a greater purpose, not just any desk job from 9 until 5. 

Weaving environmental, economic, and social consciousness into your company’s function leads to a thriving, diversified community for today and for the future. The first step to leaving a healthy, properly-functioning planet to future generations is recognizing that raw materials are limited and should be consumed responsibly.

We are now consuming these resources at levels that are unsustainable, and we are also generating pollutants and greenhouse gasses that will cause global temperatures to rise by more than the 1.5°C threshold set forth in the Paris Agreement in 2015.

What makes a company sustainable?

Recognize the facts.

As an individual, you must first recognize the sociological impacts that climate change plays among different communities of people. Climate change disproportionately affects different groups of people in different ways, hitting marginalized groups of people harder than others due to economic and racial disparity

Lower economic classes are forced to live in unethical living conditions with limited adaptive capacity, so they don’t have the resources to adapt to extreme weather events like others might.

Being mindful of this alone can help you set goals thoughtfully, keeping in mind a broader idea of who will be affected directly. 

Set sustainability goals.

The first thing a company should do is to set strategic priorities to determine what areas need to be focused on in setting sustainable development targets. Then, clarify stakeholder expectations – this should help narrow down your sustainability targets. 

Over time, your goals’ progress will be tracked and any required modifications can be set in place as needed. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can help in this process and in making certain of a framework in place for review.

Collaborate and innovate.

Embracing a circular economy means that you’re embracing the fact that resources are finite and need to be shared. Understanding where your business’s waste ends up (if any) is a key in this element: who will your company affect in its operations, even outside of your clients and consumers? Forward-thinking is your key in maximizing long-term sustainability. 

For example, a circular economy can rest easy upon the foundations of products that are designed with the end-life kept in mind. They can be reused, repaired, upgraded, and recycled.

You're on your way.

If you can incorporate these three simple elements into your business model, you too can become a more sustainable company. Sustainable operations in a business isn’t just a luxury, it’s a standard – and progressively, a widely achievable one.