Tuesday 29th Sep 2020
Sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have badge that the marketing team love. It’s an essential component of any good business, and recent events including the fires in California, show that developing a sustainability plan is a pressing issue. Too many businesses still do not have any set strategy in place, and more still do not even have a clear idea of how their activities impact the environment. As we move towards 2021 and beyond, this must change. Let’s take a look at some of the key steps to creating a policy.
Identify your failings
The first step in creating your plan will naturally be to work out where you’re weakest. It’s often easiest to break things down into a few categories that you can use to gain an objective view on the situation. For example, this might mean considering how your business uses energy, what waste it produces, and what products or materials it sources. Consider questions such as whether you have outdated and inefficient equipment, whether you require lots of vehicle journeys, or if those commuting to your premises contribute to the burning of fossil fuels. And think about what waste you produce and whether it goes into landfill or is recycled properly. Finally, consider whether the materials you purchase are sustainable, such as printer paper.
Thankfully, the modern market presents even the smallest of businesses with solutions to improve their commitment to sustainability. For example, if you’re concerned that your energy use is high but you can see no way to reduce it, you might look to an energy provider that is 100% renewable. If you have a lot of waste, but your local authority doesn’t offer recycling of that type of material, it’s very likely that there are businesses out there that will help you recycle the waste. And similarly, if you’re buying products that aren’t from recycled materials, you may be able to source a sustainable alternative – this is particularly relevant in regards to single use plastics.
Create a policy
When you’ve got a good view of your environmental impact, and the ways in which you can mitigate it, you should create a written policy or plan that sets this out. It might be that you can’t implement all of your ideal solutions immediately, so set goals for when you will based on feasibility. Be realistic about what you can achieve, but have strong goals that drastically reduce the impact your business has on the environment.
There’s always more that you can do when it comes to sustainability. Some companies are even committing to become carbon negative, which means that they actually remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit. This is certainly a lofty goal for businesses that don’t have a huge amount of resources at their disposal, but it’s nonetheless a noble attitude to take. It’s also one that you can take forwards with you as you develop and expand your operations. At each stage, consider how you can be sustainable as you build your future.