Climate change, waste pollution, and air pollution – are real problems that require real solutions. And while individual efforts do make a difference, companies across all industries are challenged to put sustainability practices in place.
The Whys: Why Companies Should Work Towards Sustainability
Every Industry Contributes to Sustainability Issues
One of the most pressing issues relating to sustainability is climate change. This is due to greenhouse gas emissions, mostly carbon dioxide or CO2. All industries contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in some capacity. Even though some industries are contributing larger CO2 emissions than most. Every industry must work together to become carbon-negative or to reduce more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they add.
Reduced Consumption and Expenses
Simple ways such as switching to energy-efficient lighting or even alternative energy solutions such as solar power can save companies money in the long run. Additionally, turning off heating and lighting in common areas during office break times and end-of-office hours not only saves the company money but also nudges employees to become more effective and achieve a better work-life balance. Reducing energy consumption can benefit the company, its workforce, and most importantly, the earth.
Product and Service Innovation
Setting big sustainability goals will encourage companies across all industries to be more innovative in how they produce, package, market, and sell their products and services. These goals drive continuous quality improvement across the board: from product design to delivery routes. Crafting packaging that minimizes its impact on the climate can potentially lower costs and waste pollution. These savings can either be passed on to consumers or used to invest in other sustainable practices.
Increased Customer Satisfaction and Experience
Consumers are becoming more discerning and their preferences are evolving. Lower pricing is not the only deciding factor in getting into your target consumers’ good graces. There have been studies where customers will switch to or choose a product that supports good causes. On the other hand, there are consumers who say they will boycott brands that go against their values. So, aside from it being a company’s responsibility, sustainable practices are also an expectation from consumers.
Better Employee Acquisition and Retention
Companies who are first to adapt sustainability practices into their daily operations have an advantage in terms of employer branding. While compensation and benefits are still big factors in making career decisions, jobseekers will tend to choose companies whose values are aligned with theirs. Those looking for work also tend to consider a hiring company’s social and environmental commitments. And those who already work in companies that value and practice such commitments are more likely to stay as their work becomes conducive to earning a living while making a difference.
The Hows: Sustainability Opportunities for Industries
Hybrid or Fully Remote Work Arrangements
Seemingly small changes can have a big impact, especially when implemented organization-wide. Consider changing your team’s work arrangement to a hybrid or even fully remote. Switching to remote work for a few days a week reduces the need for travel and can significantly reduce energy costs, as power is required to light and heat your office building.
Part of the strategy to be carbon negative is to reduce CO2 emissions, which can be done through various practices, including switching to renewable energy. The shift to renewable energy is potentially costly but necessary to be truly sustainable. Companies should consider using solar panels to power their buildings, from their offices, warehouses, and even retail establishments. Aside from solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, and biomass energy are some renewable energy options companies can choose from. Thanks to combined efforts and the real pressure of climate change, renewable energy has become more efficient and accessible over the past few years.
Reduce Carbon Emissions and Waste at Every Level
When planning a sustainability strategy, companies should also involve their partners from across their supply chain (from production to distribution). Companies should set sustainability targets with their external partners, especially since some industries’ waste pollution and carbon emissions come from parts of the supply chain that they don’t have complete control over, such as delivery routes from warehouses to various retail establishments and customers or manufacturing waste disposal.
Companies can align with partners across their supply chain to identify critical issues relating to reducing carbon emissions and waste. This may take more work, but companies who are committed to their sustainability goals must be thorough when choosing supply chain partners to work with or discussing sustainable business practices with partners that they currently have. Setting and achieving sustainability goals within the supply chain means contributing to the larger sustainability agenda.
Involve Employees in Sustainability Efforts
A great way for companies to amplify their sustainability efforts is to involve their own workforce. Whether it’s banning single-use plastic across the organization to reduce plastic or participating in company-wide e-waste drives, engaging and involving employees can contribute to achieving sustainability goals. Additionally, sustainability practices that are encouraged at work can trickle down to the employees’ personal lives and even their own circle.
Obtaining sustainability across industries requires a lot of planning and actual follow-through. The consolidated effort and cooperation of companies is critical in managing waste, reducing carbon emissions, curbing harmful practices, and fighting global warming—in short, saving the world.
Mother Nature doesn’t want your
old computers, but we do.