Approaching Sustainability: How Businesses Can Become Greener 

close up photo of Imac Silver
Photo by Alesia Kaz on Unsplash 

Sustainability has unfortunately earned buzzword connotations among some sectors of the population, and many members of the general public have started to doubt its actual ability to bring forth actual change. In fact, the term “greenwashing” has been coined to show this tendency of masking processes that are harmful to the environment under false pretences and show them as the real deal. However, customers have largely started to become aware of these methods, and many are now doing careful research before making a purchase. 

If you’re a business owner and want to show that you are committed to sustainability and eco-friendly practices, here are some of the things you should be sure to integrate into your business processes. 

Energy management 

The amount and type of energy your business consumes are directly correlated to your carbon footprint, so if you want to lower your impact, you must also find ways to be more sustainable in how you use energy. Managing the amount of power you consume is a proactive process and should be part of a more extensive system rather than a one-time thing. Your aim should be to decrease the amount of power you consume to decrease costs and embrace more efficient, pragmatic sustainability. 

There are many things you can do to ensure this. Upgrading to newer appliances that can save more energy and are not as power-intensive helps. Monitor energy bills and determine the areas where you could reduce consumption. More elaborate steps include switching to renewable energy, a process which will likely take some time considering that you’ll have to add all the necessary infrastructure to get the system to work as well. You can adopt plans that seek to reduce your energy consumption gradually over the next few years. 

Using technology can naturally help as well. There’s software that can predict future energy usage and plan budgets for power consumption in advance. This helps with strategic objectives and decision-making and allows you to ensure that your plans correlate with the reality you can create. 

Waste management 

Waste management includes everything concerning waste materials collection, transport and processing. While standard disposal is well-known, recycling is the one that’s sustainable. Making sure your waste management is effective can save you a lot of money in the long run, all while guaranteeing that you’re helping the environment. Getting waste compactors for plastic and cardboard from Miltek can save you a lot of trouble, as they are incredibly efficient and create no mess. The pressing cycles are rapid, and they can be connected anywhere since they work with compressed air. 

The first step to better management is to measure the waste your business creates. Afterwards, you should see if you can reduce the amount that gets thrown away. For example, you can ensure that you don’t use as much paper by making more processes digital. Then, you need to reduce the rubbish that will end up in landfills because that’s what contributes to higher greenhouse gas emissions. 

There are three main ways to minimise the waste you send to landfills: 

  • Reducing straight from the services from where you purchase by getting less so that you will also waste less. This doesn’t mean having less than you need, but instead making sure you don’t get more than you need and then have to throw a lot away. 
  • Reusing items, since although recycling is crucial reusing is just as, if not more important. When you reuse, you guarantee that no item gets thrown away before the end of its lifetime. There’s a considerable amount of natural resources, including water and various materials, that go into creating each and every product. Throwing them away without using them at all means wasting all of that. 
  • Recycling to create new products from materials that could still be reused and repurposed. 

Supply chains 

Supply chains are huge and include a considerable number of businesses, people and routes. That’s why making this process sustainable can be challenging, as you’ll have to bring everyone on board with your ideas. But it’s vital to implement eco-friendly practices to create a sustainable business environment. The supply chain is the backbone of any enterprise, the one thing that keeps all the components moving. 

Here, too, the first step towards understanding what could be improved is to identify the problems. You may uncover various issues in the aftermath of an audit. For example, you could notice that you lack an Environmental Management System that helps you address regulatory requirements systemically. You might find areas that lack the means to handle social issues, such as workplace harassment. Upholding human rights and ensuring ethical practices are also part of sustainability. 

Other concerns include dangerous working conditions, overtime issues, and unfit environmental practices. Even if your company has amended all these issues, or perhaps never even had them to begin with, the practices of your suppliers can affect your reputation as well. Even some of the firms considered to be stalwart examples of sustainability deal with these problems. It’s pretty difficult to manage because working with businesses that may not uphold good sustainability standards often means delivering products much faster. 

The current markets are incredibly competitive, and many customers expect products to be delivered very rapidly, something that is contrary to eco-friendly processes that typically last longer and deliver products of more sound quality. If companies can’t keep up, they are usually replaced by competitors, losing revenue. So, what’s the way to solve this conundrum? Ideally, you should only work with suppliers that have established long-term sustainability goals that are in accordance with yours. 

You can discuss your procedures with them and encourage those who don’t follow the same standards to consider them. Remember that this is a step-by-step process, and it requires consistency. You want to see follow-up and commitment to change. 

To sum up, implementing sustainable practices can be challenging. You have to think of several different aspects and find ways to manage even those factors that you don’t control directly. It’s tough work. It will also take some time to get everything right. And just when you think it’s all done, the standards will change because sustainable practices are constantly evolving. And you need to keep up with them. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.