Companies today recognize the value of doing business more sustainably. Many have created action plans or metrics to help use less energy, produce less waste and differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. But like all change, there are going to be some bumps and challenges. So how does a company transition to more sustainable business practices without losing focus on its goals?
One thing we’ve learned here at MAYO is that change doesn’t happen overnight, or stop magically when you’ve reached a goal. Acknowledging there will be challenges along the way but they are not insurmountable goes a long way in keeping everyone engaged, even if there’s a hiccup.
In this post we’ll dive into four common challenges and how your company can handle them with grace.
Dispel Fears Over Profit Loss
Sustainability has proven to be an economically savvy approach across industries. Carbon-neutral products and energy-saving equipment have a proven ROI in reducing the cost of fuel or other resources. Using less means you have to buy less to produce your product or offer your service.
In turn, consumers–and employees–are more attracted to businesses with a purpose, a strong sense of culture and that use sustainable practices. They also help improve retention and productivity. In the Internet Age where you can find six different companies providing essentially the same product delivered to your door, consumers are looking for something more–a differentiator that will reflect their values too.
So when company leadership questions the business case for sustainability, it helps to talk facts and provide data that show sustainable businesses are far and away more profitable than their non-sustainable counterparts.
Prioritize Your Team Members
Employees today are seeking work environments where they feel like they have a stake. Whether it’s allowing time off for volunteering or quarterly listening sessions with leadership, today’s best places to work treat the manager-employee relationship like a conversation. People feel joy and a sense of pride when they’re part of enacting change and not just allowed, but encouraged, to do the right thing.
That’s why it’s essential for companies to communicate when changes are coming. When a new sustainability initiative is proposed, get feedback from stakeholders on the plan. Consider various ways to communicate the rollout, from the company Slack channel to lunchroom bulletin boards.
The more your team engages in your journey toward sustainability and is aware of their direct hand in protecting the environment, the more your company culture improves overall and the more your workplace feels like a community.
Take Your Time
The move toward sustainability is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take considerable time, planning, and energy to transition to a new way of doing business. A conservative pace allows you to evaluate the changes as they develop and adjust as needed, rather than using precious time to backtrack and correct any oversights or missteps.
Each step you take toward sustainability helps protect the planet, and with issues like climate change, the cause seems so urgent. But being thoughtful and reviewing potential impacts, both positive and negative, will make a bigger impact in the end.
Create Action Plans Rooted In Your Goals
All marketing plans begin with a company’s mission, vision and goals. When crafting your sustainability plans, make sure these three items are on the table for easy reference.
Everyone likes to think big, but becoming more sustainable often happens with small, not-so-glamorous changes, like adding a composting bin to the lunch room. These initiatives are also easier and faster to achieve, which helps everyone feel forward momentum toward the bigger goals you set.
As a newly certified B Corp, we understand what it takes to balance people, profit, and the planet. Becoming a sustainable business takes time and, perhaps most important of all, a community of like minds. When we work alongside businesses at different stages in their sustainability journeys, we share the same goals–to help minimize waste not only in their marketing budgets, but also for the benefit of the world we inhabit.