How to Build Successful Business Sustainability Strategies - 5 Steps
In 2017, over 26 million tons of plastic were found in landfills, along with almost 31 million tons of food. Irresponsible practices, such as overproduction, will only continue to add more weight to these issues.
Leading companies from various industries are focusing on implementing more sustainable practices within their daily operations. These strategies focus on positively impacting the environment or local neighborhoods through waste reduction and community outreach programs.
The effects of these actions can also positively affect a company's profits through inventory optimization and enhanced consumer loyalty. By implementing conscious business models, organizations can effectively expand their financial performance while building a positive reputation.
Why Sustainability is Important for Financial Success
- More Consumers Search for Sustainable Products
According to Forbes, younger people are particularly interested in buying sustainable fashion, and online searches for these products have tripled since 2016. It was also reported that 65% of Americans are willing to pay more to dine at sustainable restaurants. By adopting environmentally conscious behaviors, businesses can expand their market and sales to attract this growing demographic.
- Boost the Company's Reputation
- Stay Competitive Within the Industry
For instance, studies have reported that more than 70% of U.S. employees preferred to work with a company that had a strong environmental agenda. Meanwhile, 30% of the respondents said they have previously left their jobs because the company lacked a sustainable business plan. Therefore, creating ethical and sustainable policies can increase both staff and customer retention.
- Promote Positive Change
For example, in 2008, consumer goods company Unilever committed to only utilizing sustainably sourced palm oil in light of the backlash concerning the oil's connection to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, the company began working with local groups, non profit organizations, and the government to address the concerns and continues to be a profitable organization to this day.
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5 Steps to Building Sustainability Strategies
Businesses looking to integrate sustainable practices can begin by following 5 general steps.
1. Familiarize and Communicate With all Stakeholders
It is important for business owners to know who their stakeholders are and how shifts within the company could affect these individuals.
Openly communicating with stakeholders will build valuable relationships and allow both parties to work together to build sustainable initiatives.
2. Identify the Environmental, Social, and Economic Impacts
By identifying the key environmental and social risks that the company poses, it will make it easier to address them efficiently. The company can conduct regular materiality assessments to make sure that the right problems will be targeted.
3. Collect Data and Set Goals
To ensure that a sustainability strategy is working, accurate data must be collected. Measurable metrics will make it easier to track improvements on the economic, social, and environmental levels. It will also help businesses report on what aspect of the plan needs further attention and how to create adaptable strategies in the long term.
4. Have Clear and Accurate Reports
Companies need to be a reliable source to their stakeholders and be able to provide transparency through their reports. The organization should be able to show stakeholders that the sustainability strategies they have implemented are addressing relevant issues.
To produce accurate and up-to-date reports, organizations can automate this process using software tools. Inventory management software, when integrated with the point of sale system, can perpetually track stock volumes. This instantly increases visibility into the company's waste production and resource allocation practices.
5. Ask for Feedback
The best way to continue making progress is to ask for comments and critiques. Companies can get feedback by sharing reports with stakeholders, who can then assess how sustainability plans can continuously improve. Through this collaboration, businesses can analyze which parts were effective and which processes need to be changed.
The best way to streamline these procedures is to adopt proper inventory analysis techniques. Monitoring inventory data will help businesses implement the sustainability strategies that work for them. Through waste reduction and clever marketing, businesses can remain environmentally conscious while simultaneously contributing to their financial success.