Sustainability risk management (SRM) allows businesses to align their profit and revenue goals with their environmental policies. While this is a newer area of business strategy, the concept of creating a more eco-responsible work environment is not. In fact, according to a recent Deloitte study, the percentage of U.S. businesses that allocated the highest degree of effort and resources to address the worsening climate crisis rose from 39 percent in 2016 to 67 percent in 2018. In addition to reducing their contribution to climate change, businesses should also be aware that eco-responsibility initiatives can also create value, such as saving money, building a better reputation and creating a community of responsible and mindful people. One of the chief drivers in adopting sustainability initiatives is to increase demand for observing global and national regulations. To drive this initiative and ingrain sustainable practices within the workplace, many organizations are adopting the follow business strategies:
Create a Sustainability Policy
Much like a mission statement, many organizations are crafting sustainability policies that outline their goals and commitment to environmental responsibility. The statement should spell out what the company is trying to achieve and the steps they will take to accomplish these goals. These statements can be used to show staff, prospective clients, and long-term partners the company’s stance on environmental issues and use it to inspire action both in the office and at home. Many businesses revisit their sustainability policy to ensure goals are being met and to show a level of transparency and commitment towards environmental practices.
Set Sustainable Goals
The key to setting successful and sustainable goals is to make sure leadership is leading by example. Creating concrete and achievable goals that help your business become more eco-responsible should be done as a team. It’s crucial to the success of these goals that leadership receives proper training on how to implement these goals in everyday practice. To implement the strategies throughout the workplace, managers should set meaningful goals together with their teams to encourage participation and get each team member involved.
Conduct Educational Seminars and Training
Once a sustainability statement and goals are put into place, businesses need to create buy-in for their employees. Educational seminars can help employees understand how to be more eco-responsible and help implement simple tips that can be adopted easily. For example, businesses can provide guidance on what can be recycled and where to recycle it within the workplace. Employers should also consider sending out a survey to gauge overall knowledge on eco-friendly practices, and use the data as a starting place. Incentivizing eco-friendly behavior can also encourage employees to participate in sustainability practices.
Rework Products and Provide Resources
Businesses should consider using products and resources that reflect their mission to lower their environmental impact. For in-house options, employers can provide reusable coffee cups, water bottles, and install water bottle refill stations for employees in order to cut down on the amount of plastic waste. Companies can also utilize cost-effective and eco-responsible options for packaging, opting for recyclable materials.
Later this month as we celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, we have the opportunity to reflect on our current sustainability practices within the workplace and set the goals we have for the future.