Companies operating in 2022 cannot survive without sustainable practices. It’s not only the right thing to do, but companies are increasingly under pressure from both the public and stakeholders to make changes in the way they do business. The changes are seen in the bottom line.
Just a decade ago, only about a fifth of companies in the S&P 500 published sustainability reports. Fast forward to 2019, and that figure sits at approximately 90%. Major companies have realized that sustainability is a must; have you?
Being sustainable isn’t just about the environment. It’s a multi-pronged approach, tackling issues in our communities and beyond. The sustainability campaign by SkyCity is a perfect example of this strategy, with the company investing in a range of initiatives to have a positive social and environmental effect for future generations.
In this guide, we’ll give you a few low-impact options that will help your business move towards a more sustainable future. Remember, it’s not just about buckling to public pressure, but it also makes sense on a business level.
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Just think about this scary stat: up to 25% of all CO2 produced by the travel industry is because of business trips. Instead of sending your employees to meetings away, consider trimming your emissions by hosting additional sessions on Zoom.
There are added advantages to this strategy. First, your employees will thank you. They’ll have a better work/life balance and will not need to spend as much time away from home. It also significantly reduces overhead costs.
These days, both Zoom and Teams work very well when it comes to online meetings. Before 2020, you couldn’t really say the same thing. Take advantage of technological developments!
Let’s face it, you can’t always avoid a face-to-face meeting. If your employees do need to travel, encourage green where possible. For example, if you routinely travel from London to Paris, take the Eurostar. According to the European Environment Agency, taking the train instead of flying will cut an enormous 90% of emissions.
You can also encourage daily improvements to transport emissions by implementing a cycle-to-work scheme. This will save your employees money, improve their health, and lower emissions significantly.
You don’t have to carry all of the costs, either. In the United Kingdom, for example, you can partner with a government-approved scheme that reduces the cost of purchasing a new bike by almost half.
Think about levelling up your hiring by creating a process that widens the nets, giving you access to a greater level of talent amongst diverse cultural backgrounds. This will not only foster social equity, but will also give your company different perspectives and experiences.
Inclusion really does matter. And not only that, diversity wins. According to a report by McKinsey, companies that focus on diversity tend to perform better. In a data set that encompasses over 1,000 major companies and 15 countries, the results speak for themselves.
Let’s take women executives, for instance. Companies with more than 30% women executives consistently outperform others that only feature between 10-30%. Those with even lower figures performed significantly worse.
If you’re a business owner, you must face this new reality: work from home, at least in some capacity, is here to stay. Major companies, like Yelp and Lyft, are even implementing fully remote solutions. There are some very clear benefits to adopting this strategy:
- Lowers costs as you won’t need the same office footprint. Lower rent, lower bills, perfect.
- Productivity goes up. Business owners were scared that WFH would result in lower output, but studies are increasingly showing that office dwellers are actually 20-25% less productive.
- Employees want it. And if you want the best talent, it’s best to listen. WFH is generally preferred due to the work/life balance benefits, the lack of commute, and the improved mental well-being.
- Lower emissions. If your employees no longer have to commute as often, it will clearly lead to a lower carbon footprint.
You don’t even need to do this full-time. Many companies offer hybrid setups, offering employees the opportunity to visit the office occasionally for meetings or collaborative work. Be flexible and your employees will reward you.
We’ve already cited SkyCity’s sustainability practices, but we’re going to leave you with a handful of other companies that are also doing their part for a sustainable future.
Tony’s Chocoloney is a brand that will give you an excuse to munch on chocolate treats. The company won the Sustainable Brand Index in 2019, and the Dutch outfit continues to make a positive mark on the industry. It puts a strong focus on fair trade, CO2 emissions, and working with other sustainable brands.
One of our favourites is Patagonia, a company that’s been a trailblazer in sustainability since its inception. According to Rank a Brand, it’s near the top of the pile when it comes to green credentials. They donate 1% of their revenue (not profit!) to environmental organizations, for example.
We’re not saying you need to win a sustainability award or that you must donate a percentage of your profits to be sustainable. But in order to make a positive mark, make changes. They can be small and subtle, it all makes a difference. And many sustainable strategies tend to result in higher profits, so it’s a win-win.