Why All Businesses Should Make a Commitment to Sustainability in 2019
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Sustainability has benefits far beyond conserving our natural environment.

Sustainable business practices can make your company more efficient and ensure its longevity.

In making sustainable commitments, you will create a bigger purpose for employees, reduce costs in your supply chain and drive innovation in your company.

It seems that with each passing year, sustainability becomes more of a focus in everyday life. The year 2019 is no exception. From metal and paper straws replacing plastic ones, to heightened awareness of the plastic waste in our oceans, there are already many environmental movements underway. It is imperative that sustainability continues to become a larger part of our home and professional lives.

Many businesses have made sustainability part of company culture, and in the process discovered some techniques for making these changes. Here is some guidance for other companies that may be ready to take the first steps. These ideas are based on our experiences helping companies become more sustainable and environmentally friendly through innovative technology to track and reduce waste in activities such as managing diversion planning, composting, grease trap and fry oil disposal and other environmental and sanitary services. In the past ten years our chain clients have saved 175,000 admin hours, 20 million trees, and over USD11 million dollars through increased transparency in the waste management process, among other waste solutions.

Making Your Business Accountable

As an individual, you might be eco-conscious, but making a formal, public commitment to better practices is a bigger step. When it’s your company taking that step, it requires even more thought and effort. No matter how small or large a company is, it must consider both its impact on the environment, and what action it can take. Formally outline your commitment to team members, business partners, consumers and our planet. This creates accountability for both the company as a whole and the individual employees.

Working towards this wide-reaching change is beneficial for your business and profitability, because once you establish your sustainability commitment, it will begin a process towards three results: creating a more powerful purpose in your company; streamlining your supply chain, which can reduce expenses; and driving innovation within your business.

Create a Powerful Purpose

Sustainability can be misunderstood as having a strict focus on reducing the use of natural resources. However, the concept of conserving resources extends to the talent of a company’s people and the funds in our budgets, as well.

Understanding the driving motivation for the members of your team to get out of bed and come to work in the morning is extremely important. This passion can be channeled into innovations that increase efficiency to your operations, resulting in a conservation of employee time. Definitions of your company’s commitments to customers, quality and team members can further focus these efforts. The less team member time wasted on inefficient processes, the lower your labor expenses, allowing the company to sustainably exist in the future to continue providing those jobs.

Audit the Supply Chain for Sustainability and Efficiency

Implementing formal sustainability practices will help a business streamline its supply chain to not only become more eco-friendly in each step of the process but also reduce costs. A supply chain audit allows a company to evaluate performance and pricing, and gain insight into progress towards sustainability goals. It may seem time consuming to go through each step, but in addition to becoming more environmentally conservative, you will find that it results in cost savings as well. For example, if you find that you are hauling away waste multiple times a week, but really only need to haul it once, you will be helping the environment by reducing emissions and saving money on the costs.

Once the supply chain is examined, it is also critical to choose vendors or partners that align with your stated values. When you choose the right vendors, everything else falls into place. After you’ve done a supply chain audit and have chosen the right vendors and partners, you will see a boost in operational efficiency. Ultimately, this will promote growth and profitability within your organization.

Driving Innovation

As previous points show, an overarching reason for your company to make a sustainability commitment is to drive innovation. Many businesses find that they are stuck in a rut of the “old” ways of doing something. Once you decide to make a conscious effort for sustainability, it will shed new light on your company’s practices — which in turn can create new ideas or processes in your company.

This can set your business apart from the competition and make it into an industry leader. Furthermore, becoming more efficient helps to ensure that your company will be able to operate for years to come and potentially make it more cost competitive, as well.

In Conclusion

Sustainability has benefits far beyond conserving our natural environment. Sustainable business practices can make your company more efficient and ensure its longevity. In making sustainable commitments, you will create a bigger purpose for employees, reduce costs in your supply chain and drive innovation in your company.

After your initial sustainability transition, you can then set even bigger goals, like being Zero Waste Certified or becoming a B-corporation. Your efforts will boost your competitive advantage. More importantly for our future, as we learn more about business’ effect on environment, it is clearer than ever that we must be proactive. Don’t let your company be the one that’s stuck in the past.

The author of this guest article is Matthew S. Hollis, Founder and President of Elytus.

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