How to Be a Sustainable Business

March 31, 2020 Staples Business Advantage

Sustainability in business is more than using eco-friendly materials and recycling, though those things are part of being sustainable. For a business to be sustainable, it needs to use best practices that focus on the triple bottom line. That means it needs to operate in a fiscally strong manner while being environmentally friendly and doing good on the social level.

Make Sustainability and Social Responsibility Fundamental Priorities

Build the business on a core belief that’s significant to you, your workers and your intended clientele. Summarize your goal of sustainability and social responsibility in your mission and vision statements. Provide clarity about the ways you plan to make it sustainable by adding brief details about plans for sourcing materials. Include philanthropic goals, diversity-friendly hiring and human resource policies, and plans for supporting the changing needs of your employees.

Incorporate Flexibility Into Your Plans

Add an element of flexibility to plans so your company is able to easily adapt. An example of the type of change that merits flexibility and adaptation is offered in the Staples 2019 Workplace Survey. It notes that millennials have a preference for open floor plan offices while boomers prefer closed office spaces. Changing the floor plan after boomer employees start retiring adds sustainability by accommodating the work style of millennials.

Choose Eco-Friendly Products and Processes

Going green is a marketing advantage with those customers who prefer doing business with companies that use and produce green products. Include eco-friendly practices, such as using recycled paper and buying office furniture made from green materials, when choosing items to purchase for your business.

  • Sustainable Materials: Choose materials that have been recycled, produced using sustainable processes and items that are made to be recycled when your office is done with them.
  • Avoid Single-Use Plastics: Follow the lead of earth-friendly stores that are working to eliminate unnecessary plastics by offering green products for employees to use. For example, provide reusable water bottles rather than offering single-use plastic water bottles in the break area.
  • Recycle: Consider setting up a recycling station in your business for paper, plastics and ink cartridges to keep them out of the landfill.

Making your business sustainable is an opportunity that pays off for years to come by setting it up to transition through market changes, social changes, and changes in the workforce. It shows customers and employees you value them, and it shows your dedication to building a company that’s positioned to stick around.

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