Here's why it's important.
All facets of our life are influenced by the ripple effect of environmental change as the world takes more and more changes in stride. Standards, norms, and values are drastically changing in our workplaces, families, and schools (and they will continue to change).
We are now left without a choice but to be aware of and act on such changes.
One change occurring in this moment and that will continue to occur for years to come is the workforce landscape, welcoming a new generation in: Gen-Z.
As Gen-Z and Millennials dominate the contemporary workplace, their preferences in terms of companies either holding or withholding environmental concern grows.
In a Fast Company study, more than 70% of participants stated they were inclined to choose to work for an organization with high sustainability standards. In fact, millennials claimed they would be open to a wage decrease if the business pursued a green business strategy.
According to a separate poll done in 2016, 64% of millennials voiced an aversion for businesses that weren’t socially conscious. In order to work for a firm that shared their beliefs, over 75% of respondents stated they would be prepared to accept a lower wage.
Realizing that raw materials are finite and ought to be utilized wisely is the first step in ensuring that future generations inherit a healthier planet.
The rate at which we are currently consuming these resources is unsustainable. We’re producing pollutants and greenhouse gasses that will push global temperatures over the 1.5°C limit outlined in the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Here's what you can do about it.
1: Source sustainably.
At all possible opportunities, sourcing from sustainable, local sources is one of the best ways to take environmentally-conscious initiatives.
A sustainable manufacturer might look like someone who utilizes recycled or renewable materials, or is conscious of their own consumption and who it affects. Not only are they conscious of who their consumption affects, but they actively implement their standards into their function.
2: Be conscious of your consumption.
Everything down to the nitty-gritty. Things like water and energy are things commonly overlooked by companies despite their scarcity.
According to CNBC, more than 25% of water consumption is attributed to businesses and other institutions in metropolitan areas. Installing things such as low-flow water valves or simply identifying leaks on a regular basis are initiatives you can take to pursue a greener agenda.
Each year, more than $60 billion is spent on energy costs in the United States. Not only could you save your business’s money by reducing energy costs, but save your carbon footprint from trekking further than necessary. Energy-efficient appliances might be costly up-front, but by saving energy, they will in turn save you money. Put your lights on a timer, or let them be prompted by motion activity.
3: Sort Correctly.
If you weren’t already, make sure you make it a priority to recycle. Not only recycle, but to sort your recyclables properly. Materials such as aluminum, paper, electronics, and food scraps all have a place, and it’s important that we make sure they end up where they belong.
4: Network, network, network.
This is a great way to not only share your sustainability initiatives with others, but to gain inspiration on ways you can better support your green agenda.
By building sustainable partnerships, you naturally not only become a more forward-thinking company, but become a place that people not only wish to consume from, but to work for.
5: Mind who's affected.
There are also sociological elements at play with climate change that every individual should be mindful of in any economically friendly pursuit. Often overlooked, these sociological elements are something that likely will not go away in time, especially if they are continuously neglected.
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.
Operating your business with this in mind might prompt you to consider exactly whom your company affects, and in what ways. Hopefully, you can mitigate the negative effects of your business, if any. This is just as effective of a sustainable initiative as any other.