Why you should build a culture of sustainability in the workplace

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Most large corporations boast that they’re environmentally responsible, or will claim to be a sustainable business, but what does this all really mean? What are these companies actually doing to combat climate change, what should they be doing, and what’s in it for them?

Oftentimes big corporations will engage in greenwashing, in which they are misleading or deceptive about their sustainable practices in order to cover up the fact that they’re the ones doing the most damage. The problem is that some people still view sustainability as a trend, and simply want to hop on the bandwagon.

Other than the obvious reason that we should all care about the planet and future generations, fostering a culture of sustainability is vital to a company’s success. There are many benefits to empowering employees and consumers to live sustainably.

Millennials and Gen Z hold businesses to a higher standard than previous generations have in the past, and these days people can smell greenwashing from miles away, whether your intentions were good or bad.

Nowadays, sustainability is non-negotiable for consumers. They are equipped with knowledge and resources to help them choose which brand they want to support with their dollar.

Three reasons why you should adopt sustainability practices:

1. Sustainable businesses attract more customers and better employees:

By being a sustainable business, you can capture a much larger portion of the market share. Most people prefer to spend their money on products and services that aren’t contributing to climate change.

Demand for sustainable products is higher than ever, meaning more people are environmentally conscious than not. More than 65% of consumers say they will pay more for brands committed to positive environmental change (1% for the Planet).

Employees would also rather work for sustainable companies. In fact, research shows that people are willing to accept a smaller salary in order to work for a sustainable firm. That's not to say we think you should pay your employees less than a living wage, but to point out that employees see your sustainability initiatives as an added benefit to their employment. Whether or not a company is sustainable also impacts an employee’s decision to stay or leave. Additionally, it is more likely that your employees will want to stay with you long-term if you have built a culture of sustainability within the workplace.

2. Growth:

Adopting a culture of sustainability also allows for huge growth potential. According to the Harvard Business Review, products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6 times faster than those that were not.

NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business and their extensive research into U.S. consumer packaged goods found that more than 90% of sustainability-marketed products grew faster than their conventional counterparts.

3. Cost Reduction:

Decreasing energy use and reducing waste could also mean cutting operating costs. If your company tracks your waste production and identifies its key waste contributors, you can find real solutions to make your operations more efficient. This can save your business a lot of money in the long run.

Once your stakeholders understand the fundamentals of sustainability and how it affects your business, they will be proactive in finding solutions that affect your triple bottom line. With more productive employees, you'll save on "wasted" working hours.

There are endless other reasons why being sustainable is beneficial to your business, including the immense positive impact your business could have on society as a whole.

How Waste Free Earth can help:

Ready to start your zero waste journey? Waste Free Earth can help you generate measurable results and create change. Watch your company thrive and flourish with our services. We offer the following:

  • Zero Waste Kickstart: An online program for startups and small businesses to learn how to implement zero waste operations throughout their company launching May 2021. Zero Waste Kickstart is the training on how to build the foundation of a zero waste company, which will save you money, time, and effort in the long run as your business scales.

  • End of Life Product Transparency: Analysis of your product materials and packaging to help you communicate to consumers on how to dispose of it properly, including the end of life certification processes, like BPI or ATSM standards.

  • Zero Waste Events: On-site coordination and zero waste strategy consulting to integrate more comprehensive waste elimination and engagement programs at events.

Our systems work because we foster a culture of empowerment and open communication throughout our zero waste framework.

Let's work towards a Waste Free Earth, together.

By Priyanka Prakasha

Edited by Alexandra Thompson

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