17 Feb Implementing sustainability into the workplace
Our awareness of environmental issues and sustainability has probably never been higher than it is right now. This rise of ethically-conscious minds has created a number of challenges and opportunities for businesses, as people are actively measuring the reputation of a company based on their ethical credentials. Businesses are becoming increasingly aware that their reputation is strongly associated with their representative level of social and environmental responsibility.
According to a new study supported by Natwest, nearly 60% of all medium-sized UK businesses believe sustainability is critical in the decision-making process. The mindset of UK businesses has progressed considerably since the initial introduction of corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. The CSR market has increased significantly in recent years, with over 90% of the worlds leading 250 businesses producing an annual CSR report, according to KPMG.
The focus of CSR has progressed further, becoming a vital element of how a business operates. Businesses are more aware that sustainability is a critical tool in adding value and with rising, consumer and investor demands for a more sustainable approach in business means CSR has become a necessary measure.
Implementing Sustainability into the Workplace
It’s relatively easy to identify a business that is promoting its green credentials in today’s world. A number of organisations are incorporating sustainable measures ranging from tree planting schemes corresponding to new orders or larger corporations shifting their investment plans to meet climate targets. Despite a number of companies being recognised for their CSR actions, a recent study by McKinsey has emphasised that businesses, both large and small need to become more active in this arena. The study explains that the challenges associated with climate change need to become more ingrained in the decision-making process.
An ideal place for businesses to expand sustainability is within their own workplace. Developing sustainable workplaces will not only improve the office environment but by implementing new measures such as energy-efficient systems, businesses can reduce their overall spend. Creating a cleaner and pleasant working environment is also proven to support an efficient recruitment process and improve retention rates, as well as clearly display that a business is committed to sustainability.
What other measures can your business implement to improve sustainability in the workplace?
Creating Designated ‘Green Days’
Transport to and from work is a significant contributing factor towards carbon emissions, with business travel being a large part of this footprint. Remote working options and video conferencing are becoming increasingly popular and offer opportunities for businesses to provide low-carbon alternatives at certain times. A designated green day is focused on reducing the amount of time people spend travelling to work, enabling employees to work from home and encouraging or even incentivising people to consider alternative means of travel and methods for meetings.
Make Small Sustainable Changes to your Workplace
Making small changes to your workplace will have a collective impact on sustainability. Whether this is by adding more plants to your office or changing the lighting system, small changes can stimulate opportunities to scale sustainability. Improvements to environmental practices will pave the way for new and larger sustainability schemes to develop in the workplace.
Be more conscious of your business choices
If a business is serious about sustainability, it should really consider the suppliers and vendors it operates with. This can include selecting an energy provider that relies on renewable energy, purchasing office equipment that can be repaired or upgraded or collaborating with environmentally-conscious catering suppliers. A business striving for sustainability should determine specific goals and values that can be shared with suppliers, creating long-lasting partnerships.
There are a number of innovative businesses that are taking bold steps in the world of corporate sustainability, yet there are many that urgently need to do more in this space. It has become quite clear that climate change and sustainability is a top priority, and by making the workplace more sustainable, the future benefits to businesses and our planet will only continue to rise.