Sustainability has recently become one of the key focuses for both brands and consumers. More and more customers are choosing to invest with brands that are committed to sustainability, and many consumers are actually willing to pay more for products that are sustainably made. Whatever your business and no matter the industry, there are benefits to making sure your brand is focusing on sustainability.
Becoming a more sustainable brand is not only helping the planet but can also enhance your brand image, unlock new opportunities and open up new markets. Making changes to become a sustainable brand doesn’t have to be a challenge, and we’re sharing our top tips for becoming a more sustainable brand in 2020;
Utilise Technology And Reduce Journeys
Many businesses have been operating in the same way for many years and haven’t yet fully embraced the changes that technology can bring. To begin taking steps to becoming a more sustainable brand, start by cutting back on travel and, instead, make the most of technology. The next time you need to arrange a board meeting, choose a conference call instead of hiring a meeting space. Not only will you be saving some money by not hiring a space, but you will also be cutting down emissions from travel.
By encouraging your employees to have online meetings with clients and other staff members instead of getting in their car and heading out, you can help reduce your brand’s overall carbon footprint.
Meetings aren’t the only way to reduce the amount of travel your staff do for work. By allowing employees to work from home, you will be on your way to becoming a more sustainable brand. Embracing remote working could have a considerable impact on your company’s carbon footprint as there will be less electricity used, fewer office supplies required and no commute emissions. Not only will remote working help you to become a more sustainable brand, but it can also increase productivity and employee satisfaction.
Whether you are operating a retail business, ecommerce or something else entirely, reducing packaging is an effective way to become a more sustainable brand. If you are producing your own products, look carefully at the packaging materials and the entire packaging process. If you are using a lot of single-use plastics within your packaging, or have an unnecessary amount of packaging, then it’s time to make a change.
A reduction in packaging is one of the top things that consumers look out for when they want to choose a sustainable brand. If you are producing and packaging products yourself, then aim to make more sustainable choices by reducing plastics and waste products. If you are running a retail or service business, choose to stock and use products that have made an effort to reduce their packaging.
By supporting other sustainable brands, you will be making a change to your own sustainability. If packaging is required, then choose materials that are easily recycled, such as cardboard and paper.
Sustainability can become a brand differentiator
Recycle And Upcycle
The majority of businesses are already recycling the basics, such as paper and ink cartridges, but to become a more sustainable brand, you need to take your recycling up a notch. Next time you need to purchase something new, really consider if it’s necessary or could it be upcycled from elsewhere?
Many sustainable brands are choosing to furnish their office spaces with second-hand furniture instead of buying everything brand new. There is plenty of high-quality furniture out there which just require a bit of work and a lick of paint. Not only will upcycling for your office reduce your carbon footprint, but it can add individuality to your space.
When it comes to your everyday recycling, make sure that it is as easy as possible for your employees. Place recycling bins in all offices and staff areas so that it isn’t a chore to recycle. You can also get recycling dividers to place into desk bins, so each member of staff has their own recycling bin right by their side throughout the day. By encouraging recycling among your team, it will eventually become a part of the workplace culture, which is exactly what you want when trying to become a more sustainable brand.
Measure Your Waste
As a business, it can be easy to be naïve to the actual amount of waste being produced. If you truly want to become a more sustainable brand, you need to be aware of how much waste is produced by your company. With papers, water bottles, plastic cups, office supplies, coffee pods and paper towels being some of the most common waste products from an office, it is easy to see how these can add up.
Behaviours are more easily changed when you have some numbers to measure against. When you are presented with the total amount of waste produced by your business, it can be easier to then make sustainable changes which are measurable.
Try getting the waste produced from your office in one week weighed, and you will soon see exactly how much you are throwing out. From this, you can look at where changes can be made to become a more sustainable brand, such as partnering with coffee suppliers to recycle pods, or swapping paper towels for a hand dryer. After making small changes, have your waste weighed again and see for yourself how much of a difference has been made.
We have already touched on how technology can be used to reduce the amount of travel and emissions produced by your business, but technology can also help sustainability in the workplace. Automatic switch systems and sensors can be fitted for lights so that if a space isn’t being used, the lights can be switched off to save electricity. The same goes for heating and thermostats, where workplaces don’t require heating or air conditioning overnight or weekends.
By switching off lights, heating and other appliances when not in use, you can make steps to coming a more sustainable brand, and also save some money along the way.
In addition to lighting and heating, there are other ways to reduce unnecessary energy consumption in the workplace. Making small changes to computers such as setting sleep mode on your screen, utilising energy-saving modes and decreasing brightness when it isn’t needed can all make a big difference. These might seem like insignificant aspects, but when these changes are made on a large scale, they can have a big impact.
Making small, manageable changes across the business is one of the easiest ways to become a more sustainable brand.
Have Veggie Days
If you operate a business that provides food for employees, or you all have regular social lunches, then consider having a company-wide vegetarian day every week. Vegetarianism and veganism are an extremely ecologically-friendly diet, and by making a change just once a week, you can help reduce your overall carbon footprint. Try switching the food in your canteen to all veggie options for one day a week and make all staff aware of the many benefits that come with this new eco-friendly behaviour.
This unique way to become a more sustainable brand can result in a considerable impact on the planet.
One kilogram of meat equates to between 15 and 40 kilograms of CO2, and on top of this, every 150g of beef that is wasted is 2025 litres of water. When this is compared to lentils or rice being a measly 1 to 3 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram, the difference you could be making is clear to see.
With so many delicious vegetarian meals and snacks out there, even the most passionate meat-eaters are sure to embrace this change to become a more sustainable brand.
Communicate Your Efforts
Once you have adopted changes to become a more sustainable brand, these efforts must be communicated to your consumers, employees and investors. Not only will getting the word out about your new priorities be great for your brand’s image, but it could help to drive your industry forward and encourage others to follow suit.
When it comes to communicating sustainability, it is important to remember that transparency and honesty is key. If there are areas of your business that you have not yet been able to change but aim to in the future, be clear about this and the reasons behind it.
Your Path To Sustainability
Sustainability is not a quick fix or one-time change; it is an ongoing process, and constant evaluation is required to truly become a more sustainable brand. Set yourself goals that are easy to track and re-evaluate your sustainability efforts on a regular basis.
Aim to get as many team members involved as possible, as these changes require support and collaboration from everyone within the business. Keep in mind that becoming a more sustainable brand is a journey and not a destination.
There will never be such a thing as being too sustainable, and there will always be areas in which you can improve.