Effective Sustainability Strategies for Businesses

Sustainability is a popular term floating around the business world these days. It seems that everyone is talking about it, from businesses to consumers alike. With the looming climate crisis, increased consumer awareness about supply chains, and exploitation, plus pressing needs to remain competitive, sustainability strategies are increasingly becoming an essential element for businesses.

According to research group McKinsey, considering the role of sustainability is now a matter of business survival. Their surveys show that consumers and investors alike weigh the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors of a business as much as they do the company’s traditional profitability. In other words, consumers and investors want to see that companies care about more than just making money.

Many effective sustainability strategies exist for businesses to enact. Consider these three tips when developing a strategy that empowers a business to thrive.

Three Sustainability Strategies for Businesses

Although the popular definition of sustainability – what consumers think of when they hear the term – mostly involves the effects of a company on the environment, sustainability carries other dimensions for business. In general, business sustainability refers to the impact which a business has on the environment, on society, and on its own ability to remain profitable. Three business practices for sustainability include:

1. Be Intentional About Sustainability

Sustainability isn’t just about what printer cartridges a company chooses, or whether it uses recycled packaging material. It also involves the company’s ethos, mission, and how it approaches business necessities such as risk management. In other words, sustainability is a business goal towards which a company must constantly move. To accomplish this, businesses need to remain intentional about their commitment to achieving and maintaining sustainable practices.

Consumers overwhelmingly prefer companies that emphasize and invest in sustainability, but they also see right through companies who don’t walk their talk. With so much awareness around the environmental and social harm businesses create in communities or the earth, it’s not enough to simply claim a passion for sustainability. Companies today must now consider the way that an ethic of sustainability impacts their very business processes.

Being intentional about sustainability means making it a central element of a company’s philosophy, then shaping the business and its functions around it. That’s the only way to create a lasting impact.

2. Conserve Resources Where Possible

Being in business is wasteful. Whether it’s piles of packaging, or reams of trashed computer paper, or mountains of used ink cartridges, enterprises struggle with achieving a closed-loop system of supplies and resources. This challenge isn’t helped by the fact that some manufacturers would prefer that companies purchase new rather than recycled or remanufactured supplies, and take steps to discourage it.

Reduce, reuse, recycle has long been one of the mantras of sustainability, and there exist many ways for businesses to enact these policies in the workplace. Many of these involve introducing modern technology, which can empower employees to be more innovative and productive. Some strategies may include:

  • Redesigning product packaging to use fewer materials.
  • Deploying energy-efficient printers and office technology.
  • Leveraging managed print services to cut waste and reduce printing.
  • Developing recycling programs with perks for employees or departments.
  • Eliminating office consumables such as disposable cups in the break room.
  • Introducing remanufactured, refurbished, or recycled devices or supplies.

Think about what a company uses daily, and whether a more sustainable alternative exists. Visible changes help keep sustainability at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

3.  Consider Supply Chains, Sourcing & the Sustainability Commitments of Partners

Many guides to business sustainability discuss immediate steps that companies can take to achieve a greener workspace – and that’s great. However, it’s also essential to think about not just what a company does, but with whom it interacts as well. Sustainable businesses may not only engage in the best practices in the office but also support partnerships with companies embracing similar goals.

Supply chains and sourcing remain one of the most significant areas of pollution. According to McKinsey, 80 percent of the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with a product or service happen during its movement through the supply chain. Even if a product is made from sustainable materials, and packaged in recycled materials, these efforts constitute a drop in the bucket if the product still originates from questionable sources or requires a tremendous amount of energy to move from factory to store.

Consider the way products are sourced, and the effects which a preferred supply chain might have. Sustainability includes finding alternatives that are closer, less environmentally impactful, and more ethically sourced.

James Imaging Helps Companies Achieve Sustainable Practices

Sustainability isn’t just a word that’s in vogue – it’s a philosophy that is changing the way companies think about and do business. Sustainability strategies run the gamut of simple changes in an office, to far-reaching effects of a company’s actions in the community. Developing initiatives and committing to sustainability isn’t just smart; it’s necessary.

James Imaging helps companies achieve their sustainability goals through the thoughtful deployment of office technology. Contact us today to learn more.