As the world grows increasingly conscious of the necessity for sustainability, it’s crucial that businesses do their part by making environmental changes as well. However, to genuinely effect change and make a difference, companies need to entirely reinvent their core business processes and policies. Why should you make eco-conscious policies and procedures?
Small changes are a good place to start, but true sustainability can only be achieved by giving your business an eco-conscious overhaul from the inside out — which begins with changing your policies and procedures. This will not only reduce your carbon footprint and show that your brand is genuinely committed to sustainability, but it can save you money and encourage other businesses to do the same.
Businesses and corporations largely contribute to greenhouse gases, so the more changes you can make and the more businesses you can influence to follow your lead, the more positive of an impact it will have on the environment. Developing and implementing more sustainable policies and processes can also help you cut costs and improve your brand reputation significantly.
Sustainable procedures naturally support lean thinking through reducing waste and the use of unnecessary materials and resources. So by implementing a recycling system, cutting down on the products you use and buy, and using renewable energy systems, you will cut down on your spending and lower your energy bill. Consumers are also becoming more eco-conscious and are more loyal to brands that are sustainable, so by going green, you will also boost your sales and improve customer retention.
Implementing environmentally friendly policies can also improve workplace culture and safety. Businesses that don’t have strong and clear policies that teach and encourage their staff to be more mindful can run into issues with optimism bias.
When staff get too comfortable and don’t have strong guidance keeping them aware of their practices, they can become complacent, which can negatively impact productivity and increase their risk of hurting themselves or others in the workplace. However, with clear and effective sustainable and ethical policies, companies are more likely to build a more positive, welcoming, and safe work environment, which can improve employee satisfaction and productivity.
Overhauling your business is understandably a big task to take on. The process of writing and implementing effective procedures can take time, but it is both necessary and worth the effort if you want to achieve sustainability and appeal to today’s consumers.
When doing this, you’ll need to focus on three steps:
However, these three steps will need to be repeated for every aspect of your business, which can be broken down into five areas or phases:
Your sales and marketing are essentially the main part of your business that interacts with your customers. So your brand identity and other marketing processes should be planned and revised first.
When implementing new sustainable practices, you want your consumers to be aware of the changes that are happening. Find strategies to explain your sustainability practices to prospects and customers so that they can understand how you do business and why it helps them.
Next, you’ll want to focus on updating the processes that involve the delivery of your products or services. Telling your consumers that you are making sustainable changes through your marketing is one thing, but you must then show them how these changes are occurring by creating new processes regarding customer service and the delivery of your product.
You’ll also want to ensure these processes are not negatively affected. It’s important to continue delivering quality service as you increase delivery through, for example, electric vehicles so your customers will stick around through the changes.
Of course, to truly become sustainable, you must change your product development and manufacturing processes. Changing workplace practices such as recycling policies and using renewable energy systems is great, but to deliver a genuinely sustainable product and brand image, you have to change the way your products are developed from the start. Upgrading to sustainable packaging, for example, is a place to start.
Some new technologies produce hazardous waste or environmental hazards. It is important to upgrade the technology in your business or digital systems to reduce such waste or hazards. Automating and optimizing as many processes as possible can help your business become more sustainable. Stay on top of tech trends and utilize the latest tools to ensure you are working as optimally and sustainably as you can.
Last, develop and revise your management and human resources (HR) processes and policies to provide a more ethical and sustainable work environment. Consider increasing remote employees that will save time and energy by not having them travel to and from work. Furthermore, your company and its remote employees may work to find ideas to lessen your carbon impact, like virtual meetings.
Management and HR keep everyone and everything in line and running smoothly. Developing clear and effective eco-conscious administrative policies and procedures is necessary to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.
Of course, this is simply a suggestion. These five areas of your business are key areas to focus on, but the order in which you make sustainable changes can vary depending on your individual business and what works best for you and your staff. However, it is always best to ensure your customers are aware of changes from the start. Brand transparency is an important part of retaining loyal customers.
The environmental policies and procedures you implement can vary. Again, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your company. The more changes you make, the more of an impact you will have on the environment and your consumer base.
Some sustainable workplace changes you can make include:
There are many ways businesses can do more to reduce their carbon footprint and reach more eco-conscious consumers. It may seem daunting to entirely revise your business practices, but the sooner you start making changes, the sooner you will reap the benefits of eco-conscious policies and procedures.
It’s okay if you can’t overhaul everything at once. Go through each area of your business. Start planning to facilitate organizational changes in phases. Just remember to start with your brand identity and marketing to ensure your customers are in-the-know and aware of what changes are taking place.