Sustainability has never been a bigger issue — and rightly so.
The amount that we collectively consume, and waste, has reached astronomical levels. According to one estimate, a whopping 5 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year — but only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled.
We all need to start taking responsibility for the world around us. But it’s not just about taking action at the individual level.
It’s time for businesses to step up, too.
In fact, running a sustainable business has a number of core benefits:
- You’ll reduce your energy consumption and waste production (saving both the environment and your wallets)
- You’ll differentiate yourselves from your competitors, improving your brand image in the process
- You’ll attract like-minded talent
- You’ll encourage the development and use of innovative products
If you’re looking for reasons to make your business more sustainable going forward, you’ve come to the right place.
Reducing energy, waste, and costs
First things first, running a sustainable business means that your company will drastically reduce both its energy usage and the amount of waste that it produces.
But I know what you’re thinking:
“The worst culprits are companies in the manufacturing or agriculture sectors, right? They’re really the ones to blame, aren’t they?”
According to Gazprom research, UK businesses engaged in ‘commercial and miscellaneous services’ consumed 14,575 ktoe last year. By comparison, mechanical engineering businesses only consumed 1,567 ktoe.
The message is clear: every business needs to reduce its energy consumption, no matter the industry in which they operate. Plus, if you so manage to become sustainable, this will save your business a huge amount of money further down the line.
According to the SME Guide to Energy Efficiency, “For a company with a 5% profit margin over 3 years, a £500-a-year saving from energy efficiency makes the same profit as £30,000 of extra sales.”
Differentiating yourself from the competition
How does your company stand out? What’s different about you guys? Sure, you might have a unique product—but a great product doesn’t necessarily make a great company.
Putting sustainability at the heart of everything you do isn’t just good for the environment, but it also sends out a strong message: at this company, we care about more than just profits.
We get it—you’re running a business, so you need to make money. However, you might find that you actually end up making more money by promoting your sustainable values.
A US-based survey conducted by Nielsen found that 80% of Millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996—would be willing to spend more on buying products from a company that demonstrates social responsibility.
Look at the meteoric rise of Leon. As well as their delicious food, they resonate with younger consumers because of their commitment to sustainability; they limit the amount of meat on the menu, adopt a zero waste-to-landfill policy, and serve up their meals in compostable packaging. Astonishingly, their sales increased a massive 24.5% from 2018-2019. Let that sink in for a moment.
Not only will a sustainable approach drastically improve your brand image, but it might also be the spark that ignites your sales numbers going forward.
Attracting like-minded talent
As well as being more likely to attract younger consumers, sustainable businesses are also more likely to attract young, talented employees.
In an ever-changing social landscape, it’s crucial that your business hits the right notes when it comes to young employees entering the workforce for the first time.
Having a high staff turnover rate is a nightmare. Not only is it time-consuming and incredibly costly, but it greatly affects a business’s ability to be productive.
However, research from Forbes states that 79% of Millennial employees would be loyal to companies that demonstrate social responsibility. While sustainability isn’t the be-all and end-all of social responsibility, it’s certainly high on the list.
Lastly, adopting sustainable business practices will have a ripple effect that spreads throughout your company.
Figuring out how to reduce your office’s energy consumption and waste requires a truly novel approach. It’s easy to throw your paper in the bin. It’s easy to rely on electricity from the grid. After all, that’s why it’s there —isn’t it?
But just because it’s easy, that doesn’t mean it’s right.
Doing things the same way as they’ve always been done sends out a subtle message that permeates throughout your organisation: we do things the same way as everyone else. However, by installing solar panels, by making concerted efforts to recycle anything and everything, and by limiting the amount of paper that employees use, you get people thinking about out-of-the-box solutions to everyday problems.
Once you kickstart this innovative mindset, who knows where it could lead — it might inspire new products or new company-wide approaches that take your industry by storm.
Kickstart your search for a sustainable office: