3 Steps To Keeping Your Sustainability Efforts On Track

Sustainability Efforts Stalled
 
Have your efforts to integrate ethical practices stalled? Have you hit a silent patch and need a bit of a kickstart? Here are 3 simple steps you can take to get back on track and keep the momentum going.
 

Good Intentions

 
When it comes to integrating ethical practices many business owners start off with good intentions and lots of enthusiasm. They can see how this can benefit their business and customers, as well as people and places.

But then the realities of running day to day business operations take over. There’s suggestions of no time or budget. Or that being ethical is seen as an add-on and not core to how the business is run. Consequently it can get sidelined or momentum gets lost, with efforts becoming disjointed and lacking direction.

If this is you, don’t worry, you are not alone. Keeping the momentum going when you’re not necessarily clear where you’re going isn’t easy! That’s why we’re here, to offer you a kickstart and new injection of inspiration with 3 simple steps to get back on track and keep the good intentions alive.
 

Identify What You Are Already Doing

 
Mind Map For Sustainability
 
Whatever you are doing, be it small or large, a good place to start is to figure out what you are already doing. Consider it a sustainability service of your business! It’s an opportunity to consolidate the things you are doing, makes it easier to identify other areas for cost savings and helps you see how you can make a positive difference moving forward.

Start by making a list or doing a mindmap of the things you already do to be more ethical. Here are some areas to think about: Water; Waste; Energy; Food; Suppliers; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; Transport; Social.

Ask yourself questions like: Where do I get my food from, is it local, do I grow my own? Do I recycle, or reuse any business waste? Do I employ local people? Do I have low water flow fittings on taps? Are the walls of the building insulated? Do we have low energy light bulbs and the best energy efficiency rated electrical goods?

Don’t spend too long doing this, just 30 minutes over lunch brainstorming.
 

Make A Plan & Get Your Team Involved

 
Get Your Team Involved
 
Once you’ve brainstormed where you’re at, divide the changes and actions into three categories: Things you can do this month; Things you want to do in the next 6 months; Things you want to do next year.

Make the changes realistic and achievable. Real and small changes are better than setting grand gestures that just aren’t going to happen.

As an example, some of the actions you could take are:

  • this month we will reduce the paper we use and switch to recycled or FSC
  • in the next 6 months we will introduce only having face to face meetings when they are business critical, saving on travel time and costs
  • in the next year, we will give 2% of the value of all trips sold to relevant local and community projects.

Some of the key people that can make this happen are your team. They are one of your biggest assets and fundamental to help you grow a more sustainable brand. Get them involved in the brainstorming, allocate actions to them accordingly, make them feel part of making ethical choices. This way the idea of ethical as an add-on is removed as actions and ideas are reflected across the whole business.
 

Talk About What You’re Doing

 
Talk About What Makes You Special
 
Increasingly customers are interested in what businesses are doing to be more socially and environmentally responsible, so if you don’t talk about what you do they won’t know!

Tell them what you’re up to on your website and through social media, and include messages in your marketing materials. Show them how you’re different, how they can have a unique experience with you, give them a reason to choose you.

The point is, when you can see that your customers appreciate what you’re doing it gives your actions a value and you begin to grow a reputation as a business that makes a positive difference and cares.

I’ll be posting more specifically about marketing in the next few months.
 

And Finally….

 
We hope that’s broke the silence and inspired you to get back on track. Brainstorm, Plan With Your Team, and start Talking About What you Do, 3 smalls steps to help you make a much bigger difference.

I also recommend joining us later this week for the launch of, ‘Get Savvy 2013’, it’s the perfect place to keep that momentum going.

One Comment

  1. Really useful and inspiring article and this is just the start!

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