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Five Simple Steps to Incorporate Sustainable Thinking In to Your Business

Influenced by mainstream media and online trends, consumer knowledge and opinion on sustainability is higher than ever before, with an increasing number of consumers actively choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.

Brands with ethical culture and values often develop a deeper connection with consumers and win long-term loyalty that competitors struggle to break. Those that do not cement sustainability into the culture of their company, can get left behind.

Our business has been built on ethical foundations, and sustainable thinking has been firmly integrated into our company values from day one. We continue to achieve this by encouraging our team to put forward innovations within the workplace, welcoming all ideas that could improve our environmental impact.

It is no small feat to incorporate sustainable thinking within your company, however the importance and benefits of doing so can far outweigh the resources used and efforts made.

Here we share five simple steps that any business can take to get them on the right path:

We never get anywhere by setting ourselves easy targets, so set your business demanding goals for sustainability. Whilst you may not achieve each one, it will set you on the right path towards your long-term future and the bigger objectives that lie ahead. By being ambitious you force yourself to be more creative, to think differently and that’s how innovations are built.

Share your goals; share them online, on social media and in newsletters. Let your staff and customers know and give them regular updates as they will do everything they can do to help if your values are shared.

Lastly, provide your employees and customers with the opportunity to help achieve your targets because you can’t do it without them. For example, it is no use setting a target of increasing your in-house recycling rate by 50 per cent if you fail to provide an adequate amount of clearly marked recycling bins.

Inspiring your employees is vital. Sharing your vision and providing employees with the means to incorporate ethical thinking into their everyday work-life is paramount to achieving your goals.

Ensure your workforce understands the long-term goals and develop sustainable competence in each employee.  It is human nature to enjoy what we are good at, so help your staff to become sustainability experts.

Studies have found that employee retention, productivity and overall engagement increase with sustainable practices in a business. Once you have integrated sustainability within your business you are likely to attract new employees who share those same values.

It’s nice to be nice.

Why not start by helping those that are closest to you. Set plans to plant yourself into your communities and offer a helping hand wherever possible. As mentioned in previous posts, the Community Fridge Network is a fantastic way to do this. They are communal places where surplus food is shared between people in a community, by local businesses and individuals.

Our business has always been passionate about helping charitable causes and fund environmental charity, Restored Earth. This year we are doing even more and launched an internal charity donation committee who decide where we will donate our funds each quarter. Not only are our employees involved with where our money is donated, but we are also encouraging our members to give suggestions that mean something to them.

It is also a good idea to align your charitable and business objectives, for example beverage company PepsiCo is committed to improving water quality and Kellogg’s is committed to fighting world hunger. Any cause you support is worthwhile, however it can be nice for customers to see the connection.

Businesses are doing more than ever to solve social and environmental problems and partnerships and collaborations can be extremely impactful, when well thought through. It is good to partner with someone who shares the same values as you, or to partner with someone who needs something you have and who has something you need. This could be a customer base, platform or something as simple as association.

UNICEF & American retailer, Target, struck up a smart partnership called ‘Kid Power’ which merges a philanthropic initiative with a wellness-wearable device with the catch line ‘get active save lives’.

Partnerships don’t have to be the most expensive and most time-consuming project you have ever done, with the online world growing by the second, social influencers, bloggers and vloggers are in an abundance, and with so much effect on online followers. why not partner up, sharing is caring after all!

Is your business accredited to ISO 14001? ISO 14001 Environmental Management helps organisations improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste, gaining a competitive advantage and the trust of stakeholders.

To achieve ISO accreditation there are numerous elements that are required. Here are a few:

• Development of an environmental policy that reflects an organisation’s commitments
• Identification of how the organisation interacts with the environment
• Identification of actual and potential environmental impacts
• Identification of environmental compliance requirements
• Establishment of environmental objectives, targets and programs;

ISO accreditations improve a companies reputation and increase the confidence of stakeholders, which will resonate with the growing conscious consumer.

At Clarity, we first received approval to ISO 9001 for quality management, and ISO 14001 for environmental management, in December 2011. Each year we have sought new ways to build and improve on our management systems, and we are proud to have successfully maintained our certification over the last seven years.

You can get more information about ISO 14001 here

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