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5 Important Ways Businesses Can Improve Their Sustainability Initiatives

Minimizing waste in your business is not only a great way to be environmentally friendly, but it also can help increase profit margins and make your products more attractive to environmentally conscious consumers. Here are five ways businesses can cooperate with green movement, improve their corporate sustainability, show their social responsibility, and even capitalize on the trend.

Go Paperless

Wherever possible, find ways to minimize printing and mailing. Digitizing your communications both internally to employees and externally to clients and customers will not only save you money but reduce the volume of waste going to landfills. Even though items such as paper and plastic can be recycled, doing so actually isn't very cost-effective. It's far better to reduce or eliminate the amount of waste leaving your company.

Offer Flexible Commuting Options

Flexible work-from-home opportunities are not only becoming far more numerous, but they are also attracting quality, productive talent. Offering your employees the chance to periodically work from home will take vehicles off the road and eliminate the resulting emissions. Many studies have also shown that this practice contributes to employee retention and happiness. In addition, you can offer employees incentives to take public transportation, carpool, or ride their bikes to work. Start a reimbursement plan for out-of-pocket costs associated with these alternatives to driving. Sometimes, companies that can prove a majority of their employees utilize these commuting methods can be eligible for various tax benefits.

Host a Tree-Planting Party

An ancient Greek proverb states, "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit under." Encourage employee bonding by hosting environmental initiatives such as a park cleanup or a tree-planting party. Enlist the support of your employees plus their friends and families to make a commitment to a greener tomorrow by planting trees. Gather phone numbers of interested participants, and send out text reminders before the event to increase participation. You can often find materials such as seedlings for free from local nurseries or nonprofit organizations focused on conservation. You can also encourage employees to collect and save seeds of native plants for future tree-planting efforts.

Partner with Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations are eager and willing to partner with for-profit enterprises to help accomplish a shared mission. Seek out organizations that do work in your space. For example, companies that produce products with plastic or petroleum byproducts may want to partner with an alternative energy nonprofit to figure out ways to convert waste material into fuel. Technology companies can work with trade schools and STEM facilities to find ways to repurpose unused materials such as electronic components.

Reduce the Corporate Carbon Footprint

One way to reduce the carbon footprint of your business is by choosing suppliers who match your vision of environmental sensitivity and make their own efforts to practice sustainability. Collaborating with suppliers on minimizing your environmental impact ensures integrity in your product at every step of the production process from obtaining raw materials to delivering the finished goods to the customer's hands. Doing business with like-minded suppliers who have their own commitments to sustainability will reinforce your own. 

As consumers are faced with a growing number of choices, every step your business takes toward a greener world could have a positive influence on their decision to buy from you. This includes everything from the choice of a supplier to minimal packaging. Sustainability initiatives in business are also proving to be an evolution toward better products and higher profits. Your company can help lead change for a better tomorrow by taking various steps to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and minimize environmental impact.

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