Environmental stewardship is one of the top priorities of every business or startup nowadays. Both consumers and producers of food and beverages have long placed a high priority on sustainability. But what does it really mean to be “sustainable”? Sustainability in business refers to conducting operations without having an adverse effect on the environment, the local community, or society in general.
Making a difference in at least one of those areas is the aim of a sustainable company plan. Companies that don’t take responsibility risk creating problems including environmental deterioration, inequality, and social injustice. When making decisions about their operations, sustainable firms take a variety of environmental, economic, and social aspects into account. These businesses keep an eye on the effects of their actions to prevent short-term gains from becoming long-term liabilities. The definition of sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future” and “ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental protection, and social well-being.”
It is indeed in trend to talk about having a “sustainable business”, but the real question should be “how to make your business sustainable”. Some investors are hopping on board and stocking their portfolios with businesses that adhere to ESG (environment, social, and governance) principles because they are aware that employees want to work for ethical businesses and customers want goods made of sustainable resources. Being in line with this trend will help them grow their money easily, and being aware of these preferences will help them choose wisely.
How to make your business sustainable
Businessmen will continue to deepen their commitment to sustainability in their business practices in the face of today’s uncertain economic environment, which includes inflation, heightened competition, and supply chain issues. It must be in your question: “How will I make my business sustainable?”. Before proceeding to the actual step-by-step, the best advice is to have a heart for everyone around you and your business. Aim for a green business because you want to help the environment and the people in the community, not because you just want to gain more profit, knowing and taking advantage of the fact that most consumers patronize green products. Have a willing and happy heart to serve and produce, so that it will be more convenient for you to be productive and successful.
Establish a sustainable mission
In order to have a strong foundation, start from the bottom and dig deep into your business. What is your mission? Does your mission somehow pertain to or be connected to protecting our environment? Establish a mission that incorporates sustainability. It is important that you have an actual guideline on how you will sustainably run your business. It should reflect your organization’s beliefs and purpose and act as a beacon for why you do what you do. A successful mission statement shows your company’s focus on “doing.” It should reflect, and an outsider will see what you want to do and will do. Be transparent, because it is the key to good communication with your consumers. They will be well aware of your future endeavors, and they will know what to expect from your business.
Set something for you, your employee, and especially your business to follow. It is easier to produce a sustainable business if you have something to look forward to, something to achieve, and are clear about what you want to achieve in the future of your business. A well-established mission statement will avoid confusion and make it easier for your business to achieve the green goal you set. Your mission must have something that concerns the environment and society as a whole. Work with your decision-makers as you develop a mission statement for your green business practices. Explain why sustainability is important to your business first. Create a list of priorities, precise goals, and the concrete steps you’ll take to achieve them. Include your long-term vision and specify how you will assess success before concluding.
Make your green advocacy a tangible one
It is easier to define a successful endeavor if it is tangible. It is easier to identify the things you have done or accomplished in your green advocacy if you have something tangible to present. This is the time when you can start creating products that are good for our environment—something that is useful but eco-friendly and aligned with your field of business using sustainable materials. Make sure you are sourcing your supplies from an ethical provider that is also living and operating according to your green advocacy. A tangible product that results from your green advocacy that you can also generate profit from is the best to produce. Consumers nowadays are more interested in products that have a purpose and a story behind their production. They tend to buy products that touch a little bit of their emotions; that’s why they must see and can buy something your business produces that has a green reason.
If it is possible, create a product you can connect to your business that is recyclable, renewable, or biodegradable. Use eco-friendly products that don’t contain any hazardous chemicals that might pollute the land, water, or ozone layer. In this step, you have a lot to consider: your packaging, your materials, your suppliers, how it will be produced, and of course, how it will be delivered to your consumers. Your last thing to consider, the delivery, will lead us to our next step. Your business should not just produce for profit; it can be one of the reasons, but profit shouldn’t be the sole reason.
Produce sustainably and deliver sustainably
Delivery is as important as producing your product. If you are investing heavily in your green production, you must also invest in your packaging and delivery to your consumers. Nowadays, packaging and delivery are two of the key factors in determining how frequently your consumers will patronize your business. Make sure you produce your completed items with sustainable methods. Products should be stored in a facility that uses less water and energy, and they should be packaged in reusable shipping boxes. Tray-sealing packaging will become more and more popular since it uses less plastic and energy while also maintaining product quality from the assembly line to the final customer. Food and beverage firms are aligning their strategies by adopting more sustainable packaging since 60–70% of customers are prepared to pay extra for brands that use sustainable packaging options for their goods. If at all feasible, install solar panels on your storage facility or collaborate with a company that relies on renewable energy. When you have to get rid of unsold goods, think about recycling or donating them. The industry is embracing mono-material plastics because they can be much easier to recycle than the multi-material, multilayer plastics that are now the norm. There’s actually a quote “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but let’s accept the fact that your consumers judge you, your business, and your product based on how you present it to them through your production and packaging. It will also encourage them to buy as frequently as possible if they know or you make them aware that your product has something good behind it and you choose eco-friendly packaging.
Always offer a helping hand
A sustainable business isn’t limited to just protecting and being concerned about our environment; your business must also have a heart for your community. A business will not succeed without the help of its consumers, who patronize your products and services. That’s why it’s time for your business to give back to the community. Produce a project or event that will lend a big hand to your community. It can be a charity type of act, a for-a-cause promotion, a feeding program, or any event that will surely make you help the people in the community. Aside from giving a smile to those who will benefit from this act, it will also benefit your business because it will automatically give it a good name and reputation. Always make the people of the community your priority; they are giving you the right to earn and gain profit or make your business successful; at least give back a small amount you are gaining. The key is to always be kind and willing to give. Have a happy heart when giving because it will make you feel light about the action. All you will feel is happiness. There are a lot of other techniques and different steps to successfully create a sustainable business aside from the things listed above.
A business shouldn’t just focus on how it will generate and maximize profit. A successful business is one that cares for and offers love to its community and environment.
About the Author
Reimie Kaye Z. Gaspar is a bubbly 19-year-old student who is studying Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at the University of
Rizal System. She is interested in different aspects of the arts, like painting, drawing a portrait, crocheting, and calligraphy. Her hobbies also include reading stories and writing poetry. She experienced her first formal leadership role when she was in seventh grade, as a part of their school’s student government, and is continuously pursuing this endeavor now. A
consistent honor student since primary school up to the present, and a
CPA in the making.