Tips to Implement Sustainability Into Your Company
Sustainability and the fact that companies take responsibility for the environment, social and economic development are becoming increasingly important for customers. It is a factor that influences consumers’ purchasing decisions in most industries and the third most important factor in terms of price and quality for corporate customers.
In simple terms, sustainable business is about profitability, environmental considerations, and community involvement going hand in hand and permeating all parts of the company’s operations. In order for the company to become more sustainable, all parts of the business need to be involved.
This means, among other things, reduced environmental and climate impact, good working conditions, and clean business, but also respect for rights and adapted business models.
It is important to start from your own business in sustainability work. Engage, prioritize and take responsibility based on the company’s conditions and operations. Basically, the company sees its impact on societal development and takes control of, and is transparent with, the risks in its entire value chain. It is up to you and your company to distinguish what your company needs to do and how you should work.
Over the past ten years, sustainability has moved from corporate PR departments, when it was often about charity and sponsorship, to integrating sustainability and making it part of the core business. The biggest challenge in the future is to move from linear to circular systems and business models.
Start from your own business!
Think about it! What is the purpose of your own organization? Is it a company, a hobby, or a non-profit organization or do you belong to the public sector? What questions are relevant and important for you to work with? Who are your stakeholders and what is important to them?
Perform a current situation analysis for your ‘sustainable brand’!
What is the brand’s position on sustainability? Circle the factors that affect perception! The industry, as well as the size and brand awareness, affect the image. Do a gap analysis between how the brand is perceived, how sustainable the company/product really is, and what you do! That image is the basis for your communication strategy.
Remember that the brand is a perception – not an objective truth. Tesla is a company that is leading in sustainability ranking, but that does not mean that Tesla is more sustainable than other companies. However, Tesla wants to revolutionize the automotive industry and contribute to the development of battery technology, which can lead to more sustainable development on a global level.
Set up a strategy and set long-term goals!
Develop a strategy for sustainability work, set long-term goals and intermediate goals, make activity plans, and follow up! Feel free to link your own goals to more general goals in international agreements such as the UN Agenda 2030 or the Paris Climate Agreement!
Describe your work in a plan for the next five to ten years. Make the plans available to those you want to involve.
Communicate the goals and engage stakeholders in the work to achieve them! For consumers, it may be about changing diet, recycling plastic, or riding the bike to the store. Facilitate the right behavior – make it easy to do the right thing!
‘Walk the Talk’ – tell us what you do and do as you say!
Follow up on the work in a sustainability report. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you do! Tell us not only about good things but also about the less good things and your challenges!
The brand is built over time but can be ruined overnight. Be long-term, see opportunities and minimize risks related to sustainability! Companies that lead the development by developing innovative solutions are rewarded, but all the hard work can be ruined by a scandal due to child labor, corruption, or cheating.
Take the help of standards, but dare to stand out and be unique!
As of 2017, it is mandatory for large companies to report sustainability. Accounting is central when it comes to communicating the company’s sustainability work. It tells about what has been done in areas such as the work environment, energy consumption and climate emissions, human rights, and corruption.
When it comes to accounting, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the most established standard. But choose a format and address that suits your brand! Make it simple and understandable, use infographics, images, and stories to illustrate how the company’s sustainability work contributes to more sustainable development.
Create a sustainable business model
The key to sustainable business lies largely in the business model itself; how revenue comes in, how goods and services are produced, and how goods or services move from your company to the customer. With digital solutions, there are good opportunities to create a business based on rental and sharing rather than sales. These types of “function-based” business models often go hand in hand with reduced resource use and more long-term customer relationships.
Manage and lead a sustainable company
Read about ideas for setting sustainable goals and how you can build systems that ensure that the company remains sustainable.
Product development and design sustainably
The choice of material and the design of your products have an impact on the environment. Read more about what is good to think about in the product development phase.
Create a sustainable production
Products must be produced with care for people and the environment. In this section, you will learn more about how your production can be more sustainable.
Make distribution and transport more sustainable
Packaging, transport choices, and environmental certifications? Read more about what is important to think about in order to create a more environmentally friendly transport and distribution of your goods.
Create a sustainable workplace
Personnel and environmental policies are two instruments for creating a sustainable workplace. In the section on the workplace, you will find more questions to think about for a safe, pleasant, and climate-smart work environment.
Communicate your sustainability work
Sustainability and the impact of products on the environment and society is an important issue for consumers. In the section on communication, the importance of telling about the company’s sustainability work is emphasized.
Running your business in a sustainable way means that you use your resources more efficiently, improve competitiveness and strengthen long-term. By seeing your offer from new perspectives, you can create new business opportunities and reach new customer segments.
With sustainable business, your company can generate sustainable profits – for owners, employees, and society.
With an active community involvement, you build a long-term perspective in your business. It strengthens your marketing and improves relationships with employees, financiers, and customers.
More and more companies are working to make their entire business more sustainable. It is about making sustainability an integral part of its business. By integrating perspectives and allowing a sustainable set of values to permeate the company’s business culture and relationship to its surroundings, value is created, even outside its own operations.