Is your business operating sustainably? If not, it should be. Business sustainability strategies are not just great for the environment. They’re also good business sense. When deployed smartly, they help save time, money, and resources while reducing the carbon footprint of an organization.
Sustainability is no longer a buzzword to which companies can play lip service. It’s 2019, and customers want to see that companies are not just committed to sustainability, but actually practicing it. Likewise, consumers increasingly demand salient and impactful strategies. Businesses are being asked to go beyond the bare minimum to create products and processes which mitigate their negative impact on the earth.
Curious to know how a company is stacking up against others? Read on to learn about sustainability assessments, calculators, and strategies to take office sustainability to the next level.
How to Assess Sustainable Initiatives in a Business
Reviewing a business for sustainability requires a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the workflow, employee habits, and what initiatives are already in place.
1. Assess the current prevalence of sustainable or green initiatives already embraced by the company or department.
When conducting an assessment on environmental friendliness, it’s good to know what’s already in place. During this phase, it’s also a good idea to gain a sense of attitudes about sustainability. Does the topic generate excitement? Or, does the idea elicit a more lackluster response?
2. Identify the company’s baseline resource consumption.
In this phase, collect data about a company’s current usage statistics. Doing this may involve installing tracking software on printers. Likewise, pull the electric bills from the last six month to identify current usage levels. Additionally, it may be helpful to conduct surveys on things like employee commuting methods or time spent on a computer.
3. Use a calculator to compare the current impact.
Ecological footprint calculators can help a company get a sense of exactly how they measure up. CoolClimate and CarbonFund both provide calculators for businesses which assess slightly different variables. For example, CoolClimate’s calculator measures resource consumption by the facility and by employee travel methods. Likewise, CarbonFund looks at digital infrastructure and office waste.
4. Identify areas for improvement.
The insights gleaned from these calculators can help a company determine where to make adjustments to operate more sustainably. Is the office’s electricity consumption out of line for what a comparable office uses? Likewise, can shipping products or methods be altered to reduce waste?
Dirty Secrets: Where a Business Creates the Most Waste
Offices can be tremendously wasteful, but they don’t have to be. There are three major culprits of office waste. Fortunately, they are also largely under a company’s control.
The average employee prints almost 10,000 pages per year – many of these end up in the recycling bin after a mere 24 hours. Likewise, only 68 percent of that paper gets recycled. The rest finds its way to the landfill. However, since printing comprises such a major and central business function, it’s a waste area which often goes completely overlooked.
With dozens of computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, and offices running air condition or turning on lights, a company’s electric bill can skyrocket. However, what’s often overlooked is the fact that the electricity which powers buildings – and thus everything within them – often comes from nonrenewable resources such as coal or nuclear power.
As of 2017, the average commute in the US was around 50 minutes round trip, most of which occurred in a car. Vehicles on a whole have long been recognized as a major greenhouse gas emitter, with the average vehicle putting 4.6 metric tons of CO2 into the air every year.
Effective Sustainability Strategies for Businesses
Businesses which are sustainable balance environmental, financial and community demands to produce responsible and ethical company processes. Four of the most common sustainability strategies which businesses undertake include:
1. Print less or go paperless. The office printer is the single largest source of waste in a business.
2. Make sustainability a part of the culture. Get staff on board by inspiring a sustainable culture.
3. Encourage energy efficiency. Turn off lights, turn down thermostats, and unplug non-critical devices when not in use.
4. Participate in larger causes. Encourage employee volunteering with causes like tree planting, cleaning up public parks or other environmentally aware initiatives.
These strategies are not just about making changes to the way employees work. They’re about changing the attitude of the company towards sustainability from the ground up. Foster an environment which values sustainability and it will become much easier to adopt its practices.
Get More Business Sustainability Strategies That Work
XMC practices business sustainability strategies. It manifests through our culture of community engagement and managed services which emphasize the mitigation of our environmental impact. We excel at delivering solutions that are good all around – for companies, communities and the environment.
Start a conversation with us today to get more business sustainability strategies which reduce a company’s environmental footprint.