Global warming is not the thing of the future but the thing of now. Humankind stands witness to great changes planet earth has gone through in the past 50 years and people are waking up to the fact that life as we know it is in danger. Many species of flora and fauna are already lost and the global temperature is rising and we all are to blame, some more than others, of course.
Business owners have a special responsibility because they are in a position to influence more people so sustainability is something each entrepreneur should strive for. While some are already on their way to achieving their ‘green’ goals, others are just getting started and might be a bit lost as to how to handle it. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you kickstart your sustainable business strategy.
Set a clear goal
Your goal (or goals) should be as precise as possible – a general goal such as ‘I want my business to be sustainable’ will not cut it because it doesn’t help you with finding a way to achieve it. People usually choose the most optimal strategies, tools, and means based on what they strive towards so you would need a more ‘tangible’ goal.
Instead, you can set several concrete goals, such as becoming a paperless business in the next nine months, transitioning from physical to virtual operations in the next year, re-designing your products’ packages in the next three months, etc. Once you have them grouped like this, you will easily come up with a strategy and focus on accomplishing the tasks. And each time you tick one goal off the list, you will feel more motivated to persevere and come up with more efficient ways to reach your aims.
Involve your employees
Your employees are the moving force of your business and their loyalty and hard work shouldn’t go unnoticed. That being said, in order for your desire to move towards sustainability to come through, you need to get them aboard and to engage them actively in the strategies.
What you can do is choose one person who will be a sustainability spokesperson and share your goals and plans with the rest of the staff. Employees are often afraid of changes in the sense that sometimes they mean people losing their jobs, so having a person from their own ranks reassuring them and explaining the reasons and all the steps will help the changes be firmly embedded into the core of your business. Another thing this ‘green’ spokesperson can do is to make sure that things change on a smaller scale as well by collecting suggestions around the office on how to make the workspace and daily routines at the office eco-friendlier.
Extend a helping hand
Sustainability shouldn’t only dwell within the walls of your workspace – your good practices need to extend their reach. If your business is successful, you should find a way to help out your local community by e.g. collecting plastics laying around the streets and floating in rivers, giving business lectures for free, offering to help with kickstarting a ‘green’ startup to the best business idea that wins a competition you organize, etc.
If your finances allow you, you should also strive to think globally, beyond the borders of your state and find a corner of the world whose community can use your help. When researching exotic markets they know little about, entrepreneurs often consult with local companies, such as Jack Brown Invest Islands Foundation in case of Indonesia, so that together they can help locals gain access to education and improve their economy in the long-run. By raising locals’ awareness and the living standards as well, you will be placing the environment in better hands.
Be on the lookout for improvements
Your mission is not finished once you make the sustainable processes your permanent strategy. This is because things evolve in the fast-paced world and so must your practices. You should monitor your practices and the results and always strive to achieve more and to involve more people, companies, and organizations.
For instance, when looking for suppliers, make sure you choose to collaborate with those who truly care about the products and the environment and apply sustainable strategies, as opposed to just reaching a particular number in sales. Also, when organizing business trips, you should choose agencies which think ‘green’ in terms of transportation means, restaurants, hotels, etc. Your influence can and will touch your customers too so they can also introduce eco-friendly solutions to their daily activities and purchase habits. By creating a chain of suppliers, employees, businesses, and customers that embrace the ‘green’ philosophy, you will aid sustainability on a greater scale.
Entrepreneurs take a special place in the sustainability chain due to their influence: their strategies can raise awareness of their customers and employees who will start thinking about how to apply some good practices in their private lives. By choosing to collaborate with like-minded businesses and by helping communities which are in need, you will be setting an example to other business and creating a path they can follow.