Are improvements in your waste recycling and changing to energy efficient light bulbs enough to make your business truly sustainable?

  • Is your business thinking about sustainability?
  • Are struggling with the concept?

For many businesses, sustainability is still relatively new and the practical steps that a business needs to follow to develop and grow a sustainability program are still unclear.

In order to develop sustainability a framework is required but in the absence of this most businesses will fail to embed sustainability into business. The biggest mistakes made, in our experience, is to adopt one or the other of the following ineffective approaches:

  • The “One and Done” Approach: This is when a business addresses only one area of sustainability commonly the environmental pillar, such as setting up a recycling program, switching to LED lights, or installing solar panels – and then consider themselves done. Their approach to sustainability is to do one or two things and then check this item off of their list.
  • The Ad Hoc Approach: This is when a business relies only on their own ideas for sustainability projects. The business is eager to be sustainable, but the lack of a framework means they are only working on projects in a few specific areas that they are aware of and in doing so miss other key sustainability initiatives.

The problem with both of these approaches is that the business lacks a strategic and comprehensive approach. As a result, they can come up with a few initiatives and consider themselves as sustainable.

Recently the annual report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that around 40% of green claims made online may be misleading consumers. We have to ask the question is this another sign of greenwashing when a business is marketing themselves as environmentally friendly rather than on actually minimising their environmental impacts.

Over the years I have been employed by various business with an aim of assessing their sustainable credentials through their own internal audits or industry standards, however I have found many of these businesses failing to fully address the true meaning of sustainability and choosing to opt out of addressing those elements that they can.

When it comes to creating businesses that are truly sustainable, we can no longer settle for only addressing convenient problems or marketing gimmicks. If a business wants to become genuinely sustainable, they must give it the time required and make the resources available to achieve it. Sustainability demands long-term, transformative change. If a business cannot deliver on this, they might as well not bother at all.

A sustainability audit is a tool that should be used to compare the current business processes with the best practices for sustainability. We have an audit that is independent that gives not only the business but its stakeholders and consumers the assurance and transparency that you care about your sustainability performance.