Sustainability should be far more than a buzzword.
When businesses focus on sustainability, everybody wins. Consumers feel better about shopping from businesses that match their values, businesses see profit increases from building a sustainable brand, and our environment becomes cleaner and healthier.
What Makes a Business Sustainable?
There is not just one single way to become a sustainable business. Sustainability looks different from industry to industry and region to region.
A good, straightforward definition of sustainable practices is those that prevent the depletion of natural resources.
It takes natural resources to run a business, so how can you mitigate the damage you’re doing? The old “reduce, reuse, recycle” slogan can be a helpful guide for consumers trying to reduce their ecological footprint, but what about businesses?
Calling yourself a sustainable business is about more than just printing your catalogs on recycled paper. It is a cultural shift that prioritizes methods that protect, rather than harm, the environment.
Who Benefits from Sustainable Business Practices?
When running a business, you’re often looking at that bottom line. How does doing something help us increase profits, retain our great team of employees, implement new ideas, and build our success?
But before we talk about how sustainability helps your business, let’s take a look at what sustainability does for consumers and the environment.
Sustainability Provides Consumers with Options
Today’s consumers prefer sustainable businesses. They want to spend their money at companies that share their values. Some statistics from a recent study:
- 63% of consumers want businesses to be part of the push for environmental and social change
- 73% of consumers state that they would stop spending their money with a business that doesn’t care about climate change
- 72% of consumers have increased the number of sustainable and environmentally-friendly products they are buying from just five years ago
- 50% of consumers will pay more for sustainable products
- 83% of consumers place a higher value on companies that create products designed to be reused or recycled
Clearly, this is important to consumers!
Shopping our values is a way of “putting your money where your mouth is.” However, individual consumers changing their habits is not enough to address the environmental crises we are facing.
Businesses and corporations need to get involved, too.
Sustainability from Businesses Improves Our Environmental Outcomes
Plastic production and plastic waste are two of the biggest environmental threats we face as a nation and as a planet.
As one of the largest plastic waste producers in the world, the US needs its businesses to be especially cognizant of the impact we can have on the environment.
When corporations and small businesses reduce the amount of plastic they produce, the collective impact can be huge! And the impact increases exponentially when they reduce paper and energy consumption, and recycle and compost, just to name a few changes. A single individual can only make decisions that affect their own household. Businesses have the opportunity to create change on a massive scale.
The Side Effect of Sustainability: Growth
When you go beyond good intentions and implement a sustainability strategy at your company, you’re helping consumers and the environment. But that comes with a pretty great side effect: your own business can see increased growth and profits.
Let’s look at how that works.
- You get a competitive advertising advantage by sharing with consumers what they want to hear: that you are working to make a difference.
- You can break into new markets by reaching consumers specifically looking for sustainable versions of your products or services. People will pay a premium for sustainable products, and they will also shop farther outside their geographic area to buy more sustainably.
- Increased efficiency can reduce your overall spending and expenses.
- You can attract new top-tier talent by enabling job seekers to work for a company that cares about climate change and the environment.
What Does Sustainability Look Like?
Becoming more sustainable starts with ideas.
- Ask your current team where they could see your company implementing more sustainable business practices. You may be surprised to hear great ideas from people you wouldn’t expect!
- We recommend creating a committee that helps develop strategies for your business. You can always bring in a consulting organization to help you develop a sustainability plan, but not everyone has the budget for that right away. If you don’t have that kind of funding available, start by doing what you can!
- You can start a recycling program, encourage better recycling habits within each department of your organization, and reduce your overall dependence on paper. Digitizing your records and communication is a great next step if you’re still using a lot of paper in the office.
- Look into certification programs for your industry. Because sustainability looks different in manufacturing, retail, shipping, B2B services, education, and every other kind of work, you will want to find out what options are best for your company.
Sustainability is about making meaningful changes to reduce our negative impact on the environment.
At Polly Products, we pride ourselves on making recycled, sustainable products for our customers.
We’ve been strategizing ways to be more environmentally friendly for years!
We provide our own company recycling center, but not just for our company waste. Employees are welcome to bring in items from home. Some rural areas don’t have easy access to material recovery facilities, so this ensures they can still participate and be part of the solution. We include compost, batteries, cardboard, paper, all types of plastic, glass, and even EPS packaging foam.
You won’t find paper plates and cups in our breakroom. We’ve invested in a dishwasher and kitchenware and eliminated both the expense and the waste of single-use plates and utensils. And we said ‘no more’ to plastic water bottles by installing water coolers throughout the facility and providing insulated cups and water bottles to all employees.
Our strategies extend beyond our company. That’s why we partner with One Tree Planted. When you buy one of our recycled plastic products, you have the option to donate to One Tree Planted. They plant trees in some of the most devastated areas of the nation!
When you donate, Polly Products matches that amount! Combined, we do twice as much good! Every dollar raised plants a tree in an area devastated by wildfires, natural disasters, and fires. Together, we are working to restore the oxygen-producing trees that also provide vital wildlife habitats.
Connect with Polly Products today at 1-877-609-2243 to see how you can make sustainability a priority in your business.