Sustainability 101

Looking Ahead: Five Things Business Should Do To Start The Year With Sustainability in Mind

This time of year lends itself to reflection, re-evaluation, and goal setting. Look through the lens of sustainability with the following five tips and your business will jump start 2014 with an eco-advantage.

1. Consider your accomplishments in 2013. What sustainability strategies did your company implement this past year? Were they successful? Are your employees and customers aware of your efforts? Don’t keep your accomplishments all to yourself! Ensure all sustainability strategies are being documented, and analyzed for improvement. Communicate tangible results of your efforts to all stakeholders, and to the media where appropriate.

2. Re-evaluate your business’ vision and mission. Does your company mission statement include sustainability at its core? What is the vision for the future of your business? When looking at your business from 30,000 feet you will find that it is easy to incorporate sustainability. After all, you probably want to continue to be relevant and offer a useful product/service in 5, 20, and 50 years, right? How can sustainability be incorporated into these central aspects of your business, if they are not already?

3. Ask questions. Talk to your customers and employees. Are your customers getting what they want? Are your employees happy? Ask them what you are doing well and what you are not. Consider an end-of-the-year survey to ask for their ideas for improvement, and to gauge their interest in different sustainability initiatives. You will find these ideas invaluable.

4. Set new goals. Building upon previous accomplishments and input from others, create business sustainability goals for 2014. How can you improve over last year? What new initiatives have the most support from employees and other stakeholders? Consider options that weren’t possible in the past. Maybe your waste hauler now offers compost pickup services. Maybe your employees are more interested in energy conservation than ever before. Record these goals in a public way, and begin to work toward them immediately to keep the momentum going.

5. Pull people together. Bring together a committed team to advocate for sustainability efforts throughout all aspects of your business. This ‘green team’ may decide to tackle many small sustainability projects throughout the year, or several larger initiatives. Either way, upper management should be involved with this team to ensure long-term success.

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