If you look up the definition of a sustainable business, you’re like to be informed that it’s all about managing the ‘triple bottom line’.
Put simply, that means having a clearly-defined strategy about your business’s financial, social and environmental risks, opportunities and obligations.
For many businesses, it’s a different way of thinking; sustainability isn’t something that has typically been on the board agenda.
But how can you make your company sustainable? Thankfully, there are some tried-and-tested ways to do just that which are smart, attainable and don’t require oodles of monetary investment.
Define your goals
To become a sustainable business, you need a clear sustainability goal. Without one, you’ll never have anything to aim for.
These goals vary from business to business and sometimes depend entirely on the industry within which you operate and the products or services you provide. To define yours, look at what matters to your sector, its customers, the local environment and your people. By creating your sustainability goals, you’ll make it a core belief within the business.
Make someone a sustainability leader
For sustainability to become a core belief, it needs to be communicated to the entire team, and the management within the business needs to lead by example.
The best way to do this is to make someone within the business your sustainability leader. This person will be able to help the company reach its sustainability goals and become an advocate for everything you do that relates to them.
Work with sustainable partners – or help them become so
Depending on whatever it is you provide as a business, you’ll probably have some form of supply chain or a bunch of partners with whom you work to create the finished product.
If just one of those partners isn’t governed by the same sustainability rules as your business, the knock-on effect will harm your ability to reach the goals you originally set out.
Conduct an audit of your supply chain and speak directly with any partner or supplier for your business to find out what their sustainability goals are. If they don’t exist, ask how you can help them become sustainable for the good of everyone.
Review your production processes – and packaging
If there’s two things in business that can harm the environment more than most, it’s production processes and packaging.
This is why it’s sensible to review both of these elements of your business fully. Take a thorough look at your production processes and see how much energy they use, and what happens to any waste that’s produced.
Similarly, you should ensure that your packaging is made from recyclable materials (without compromise quality, of course) and distributed as environmentally-friendly as possible. Thankfully, most packaging suppliers and couriers are in tune with their own sustainability goals these days, so finding great partners to work with isn’t too difficult.
It’s important to remember that the above tactics aren’t fire-and-forget procedures; in order to become a truly sustainable business, you need to constantly review your efforts and make improvements.
Review your goals, too, because what might have been a brilliant sustainability goal six months ago might be irrelevant now.
Enjoy building your sustainable business. There’s no feeling quite like it!