Business Doesn’t Need To Cost The Earth

22/01/2021

Business doesn’t need to cost the Earth- Three Ways To Think About Your Business More Sustainably

A socially responsible business cares about its impacts, contributing positively to society and the environment. In the words of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu: “There are many major problems facing the world today. Business has both a responsibility and an opportunity to be a part of the solution and should be a major force for good in helping to solve some of the most pressing problems of our time. At The Wesley, we are always looking for ways in which we can improve our impact on the environment. We have put together a list of three questions and thoughts which should help to get you thinking in more of an environmentally friendly, business mindset. 

 

Social impact

How many people are employed and how well are they treated? Wages are normally the biggest cost to any business, so surely it is sensible to develop and optimise the workforce’s potential? A responsible company will provide the chance for people with the work ethic, talent and desire to blossom. Does the company contribute to the community and make charitable donations? Do supply chains ensure compliance to ethical standards?

 

Environmental impact

An environmental management standard (ISO14001) targets reduced carbon emissions through a structured environmental management system (EMS) applicable to any industry through management commitment. By setting benchmarks for the reduction and/or elimination of the emission of greenhouse gases, recycling and waste management, and reducing the use of plastic bottles and energy, the business should reduce its carbon footprint with the ultimate aim of becoming carbon-neutral.

  • Set an environmental policy. Make sure the policy is relevant to the business. Analyse your supply chain – 75% of a typical organisation’s carbon footprint comes from the products and services it purchases. 
  • Establish a procurement policy including an attempt to monitor the eco-efficiency of the supply chain.
  • Building and energy. Businesses that do not need to operate from a building that uses gas, electricity, boilers, hot water, lighting and electrical equipment may be in a minority. If a building is needed, then manage the situation and make it more efficient. By looking after and restoring a property, not only can energy bills be cut, but the building can be made more pleasant for clients.
  • Waste refuse. A business may have all sorts of waste. There are plastics, glass, ink cartridges, paper, food waste and more. Come to terms with the waste created, then aim to minimise or, if possible, eradicate it.
  • Set targets. Examples could be reducing carbon footprint by 6%; becoming a “0% to landfill” company; actively engaging with suppliers with the aim of sourcing from eco-efficient and sustainable sources; improving employee education with a green team as a focal point.
  • Measure results. Work out the carbon footprint per employee and/or customer and reduce it. Some waste is easier to reduce than others, but data can be obtained from the waste contractor to measure this. Update the procurement policy and use local suppliers. 
  • Market the results – these will probably make the business more competitive to new customers and might encourage other companies to follow.

 

Gross operating profit 

There is no evidence that social and environmental responsibility has a negative financial cost to hospitality businesses. Making it the unique selling point or “USP” can add to brand and performance, with numerous benefits. “Will behaving in a socially responsible way make my business more successful and more profitable?” asked David Jones in his book Who Cares Wins “Will my customers and consumers really reward me for this? Will my board? Will my shareholders?  Jones said he is convinced they will and we agree!

In this day and age, thinking about sustainability and your business’ impact on the environment, isn’t just important, it is essential. There is no better time than today to begin thinking about how you can improve your processes and systems in order to drastically improve your business’ impact on the world. There are always ways to improve, so making these initial steps is a great way to start!