Going green is more than just a new fad among businesses. It’s necessary to start focusing on sustainability to slow and hopefully reverse global warming and minimize future damage to precious ecosystems on Earth.
This has companies working hard on sustainability efforts to help reduce emissions, limit waste, limit reliance on fossil fuels, and more. But before your company dives into its own sustainability efforts, you’ll want to understand the ins and outs, such as how to improve sustainability, why you want to improve it, and how marketing can help.
Below we cover all this and more to help ensure your company sustainability efforts are successful.
How Can a Company Improve Its Sustainability?
The first step to marketing your sustainability efforts is getting on the corporate sustainability pathway. How do you get started? Here are a few tips for getting your company working toward improving its sustainability.
Sustainability is likely a new focus at your company, so you may not know where to begin and what steps to take to achieve your goals. This uncertainty can often be a huge roadblock to launching sustainability initiatives that are as successful as you want them to be.
Instead of going at it alone, find nonprofit organizations that promote the sustainability programs you believe in and want to improve upon at your company. These can include reducing carbon emissions, battling climate change, reducing waste, or protecting forests. A partner that’s familiar with a range of sustainability efforts can point you in the right direction to achieve your goals and offer valuable resources, even if it can’t help out financially with your initiatives.
Involve Your Employees
Getting your employees on board with your company sustainability efforts can have a huge impact. Educate them about the environmental sustainability issues you’re targeting and how they can do their part to help.
This will help spur company-wide buy-in of your plan. And the more employees who buy into your efforts, the less likely your organization will fall off the sustainability wagon. Plus, empowering your employees to do their part can boost morale and engagement across the company.
You can educate your employees in many ways, including through company meetings, webinars, lunch and learns, and third-party sustainability training. Once your employees have been trained, they will be ready to help support your company sustainability efforts and may even have some great ideas of their own.
Another great way to boost sustainability and get employees engaged with your efforts is to promote volunteering. Not every employee will want to volunteer in an area that aligns with your goals, but many will because of your internal promotion of your company sustainability efforts.
A company can promote volunteerism in many ways, but one of the most effective methods is to offer volunteer time off. Like paid time off, this is paid time away from work for the employee, but the caveat is that they must spend that time volunteering.
Another method is to create a company-wide volunteering effort. Allow employees to vote on where to volunteer each year, and schedule a full day away from the office to do the volunteer work. This can be anything from helping out at a local food bank to helping clean up local waterways.
Look to Your Supply Chain
If your company produces and sells products, your supply chain could contain plenty of hidden opportunities to improve your corporate sustainability. This can include everything from sourcing resources responsibly to reducing your supply chain’s carbon footprint.If your company produces and sells products, your supply chain could contain plenty of hidden opportunities to improve your corporate sustainability. This can include everything from sourcing inputs responsibly to reducing your supply chain’s carbon footprint.
Responsible sourcing can take many forms. You can first ensure your suppliers are using resources sustainably. Some examples include planting a new tree for each one cut down for lumber or ensuring mineral extraction doesn’t pollute waterways. You can also make sure your suppliers are aware of social issues, such as by following fair labor laws and not participating in child labor.
Another goal you may have is reducing the carbon emissions produced within your supply chain. This can involve taking action to move production closer to your customers to lower transportation-related emissions or installing sensors to turn off the electricity in parts of your office when they’re not in use. You can also opt for renewable energy sources, such as wind turbines or solar panels.
What Are the 3 Key Reasons Businesses Implement Sustainability Practices?
Businesses take on sustainability initiatives for various reasons — some noble and others more financially driven. Other than the obvious fact that it’s healthy for our environment, let’s look at the three main factors that motivate businesses to implement sustainability practices.
1) Increased Efficiency
While developing a sustainable business model will take an upfront investment, research shows the long-term efficiency gains actually reduce costs. A McKinsey study found that 33% of businesses were implementing a sustainable business strategy at least in part to increase their efficiency and cut costs.
2) Brand Reputation
A large part of a brand’s popularity — or lack thereof — is its brand reputation. With environmental consciousness being as high as it is today, a push for sustainability can provide an instant boost to a brand’s reputation.
3) Boost to the Bottom Line
Your bottom line is sure to increase when you increase your efficiency and boost your brand reputation, resulting in more revenue. This is the number all businesses want to see grow, and a streamlined sustainability initiative can help translate into increased profits.
What Is the Role of Marketing in Company Sustainability Efforts?
Marketing has a huge role in a business’s sustainability efforts. Consumers now understand the impact of unsustainable business practices and are prepared to push back against them by finding other companies to do business with. By marketing your new sustainable business practices, you are playing directly to the consumer, showing them you’re changing for the better.
Also, your company sustainability efforts aren’t always free, so your costs could rise as you move toward a more eco-friendly business model. By marketing your new environmental goals, many customers will be more forgiving if you need to slightly raise prices to offset these extra costs. Without a marketing campaign behind your efforts, customers may not realize the rationale for any resulting price increases.
How Do You Effectively Market Your Sustainability Efforts?
Once you’re on the path toward sustainability, now it’s time to use that to your advantage by getting word of your new sustainable business practices out to the world. This is where marketing comes into play.
Market Within Your Company
Promoting your new sustainable business model within your company is just as important as marketing it to the public. Communicating your plans to everyone, from key stakeholders to the newest employee, is critical to ensure everyone is on the same page about your company sustainability efforts.
Great internal communication will help build a culture of sustainability within your company, getting everyone focused on sustainability in their jobs. Plus, this internal communication could result in great sustainability ideas bubbling to the surface about recyclable packaging, no-waste packages, reusable items throughout the company, zero-waste initiatives, carpooling, energy efficiency, and more.
Leverage Social Media
Online marketing is a must in today’s digital world, and social media is a huge slice of that pie. While you don’t want to beat your followers over the head with your new corporate social responsibility, you want to make it known that you’re striving to positively impact the environment.
Find a balance between routine posts and posting about your company sustainability efforts. Maybe even release quarterly sustainability reports outlining your sustainable development goals and your progress. When you hit a target in your sustainable business strategy or a key milestone, celebrate it online with a post outlining how the company, its employees, and your climate action partners made it possible.
And don’t shy away from celebrating other companies’ successes, too. This shared celebration shows you are putting the environment and ecosystems ahead of profit.
Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
Continuing the digital marketing theme, another step is to create a content marketing strategy that shares your sustainability story in a fun and engaging way. You can mix these posts in with your regular search engine optimization (SEO) blog posts or create a whole new webpage dedicated to your company sustainability efforts and house them there.
With solid SEO in place, you may start seeing organic traffic rolling in, but you’ll also want to include at least some of these posts on your social media and in your email marketing. Additionally, you can market these posts to green organizations to share on their website or include on their blog as a guest post, or to link out to.
Leverage Your Packaging
If you ship products to customers, the packages you ship them in are prime real estate for promoting some of the sustainability initiatives you’ve installed. This is especially true if your sustainability strategy included shipping.
For example, if you’ve started using compostable shipping boxes or lighter packaging to reduce fuel consumption, promote this on the shipping package. This not only adds some flair to an otherwise boring package but also lets the receiver know you’re striving to make the world a better place, giving them a reason to buy from you again.
Help Your Company Sustainability Efforts by Opting for Carbon Reductions
Your company sustainability efforts can take you a long way toward reaching your climate action goals, but sometimes you need an extra boost to get you across the finish line. This is where purchasing carbon reductions can help. These reductions offset any greenhouse gas emissions that remain after you’ve reduced your emissions as much as you can.
Terrapass can help with a wide range of carbon reductions for businesses and individuals. You can choose to offset a set number of metric tonnes of CO2 emissions or use our intuitive Carbon Calculator to determine your emissions and your carbon footprint and to discover how much carbon reduction you need to purchase to meet your goals.
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