The game changing factor
Climate change is part of our daily life, and you must probably visually or textually facing it’s impact yet depending on your location you may feel closely related to this reality or not.
Even though some people obsessively won’t willingly admit the impact we have on our world by fear or personal interest it’s now inevitable that something must be done.
Businesses are key and the best places to start with !
Whatever you’re offering to your customers from digital to physical spaces, one way or another you materialize an intent or a structure to deliver your services or products into reality.
This materialization has with no doubt a relatively big impact on the environment.
Let me ask you a question : on a scale from 1 to 10 how do you think your business perform in term of environmental impact ?
If you’re at 1 or even close, this article might not be for you otherwise here is your strike angle : think about how you would you lighten a structure by removing, carving, replacing all the unnecessary parts to make it perform at least equally or even better. Here is all the game changing !
Why should you integrate sustainability ?
Because your customers expect you to do so !
Most customers start their purchasing journey in an educated manner and internet offer an unpresented way of comparing prices, values matching, customers reviews, social trust, … (see article on digital transformation/integration).
It simply means that products and services are not enough anymore. Brands and businesses need to go beyond the traditional way of doing business by engaging deeper with their customers and telling how they are doing business.
Besides covering the simple customer urges, what your business delivers to them to increase their standard consumer status to positively impacting consumer status ?
Sustainability dictates customer purchasing decisions
A 2017 study by Cone Communications shows that 87% of Americans would purchase products from businesses who advocate for social and environmental responsibility. Even more significantly, 76% would boycott businesses who behave in ways contrary to this.
Make it part of your story
According to the scale of your business the implementation might seems difficult and complex, yet all start with baby steps. Depending also on your activity you may relate and dig into the following principles to integrate environmental and ethical concerns that make sense with your business :
- Workers’ rights and compensation
- Addressing environmental problems
- Using renewable energy
- Limiting waste
- Addressing poverty
- Prioritizing consumers’ health through organic and low-toxin ingredients
Then let them know through your marketing and communication what you are up to :
- Who/what causes does your business benefit?
- How do your efforts create a better product/customer experience?
- How do your efforts link back to the ethos of your brand?
- What do you hope to achieve long-term by becoming more sustainable?
What that it means concretely : How does your brand/business help people change the world for the better?
- Help your customers offset their impact
Collaborate with a non-profit organization that aligns businesses with charities who share the same environmental and/or ethical goals.
Label your products as a proof of your collaboration (eg. 1% for the planet, eco packaging alliance, Sky Ocean Rescue find other).
- Switch to energy-efficient equipment
Reduce energy use by trading incandescent or older fluorescent light bulbs for newer light-emitting diode (LED).
Compare when available the Energy class or Energy Star ratings of your fax machine, computer, printer or other white good equipment. Completely switch of your devices when not in use and avoid dormant equipment.
- Clean Greener
It shouldn’t cost you much to simply switch to less-toxic products for your space (retail, office, …) cleaning supplies.
- Buy used fixtures / furniture
Combine both recycling and saving money is to scavenge for used fixtures. Ideally look for the ones made of natural materials.
- Integrated a living wall or plants
Improve air quality with a wall full of indoor plants placed under air-conditioning vents. This is an especially good move at indoor malls, where air can be recirculated and stale.
- Prefer green and local
Examine the materials lists on the merchandise you sell for petroleum by-products, metals and other non-replenishable materials. Investigate and see whether similar products made from renewable resources are available.
Where your goods are made ? Could you switch to products made closer to your store or business to reduce the environmental costs of transportation ?
- Cut down receipt and packaging
One option is to go paperless. Instead of printing out physical receipts, ask shoppers to enter their email address to get an electronic copy if they want to. It will reduce the use of paper and the clutter of their wallets plus it will be good for your future marketing.
Get rid of plastic bags and substituting reusable or recycled paper bags. Then simply, ask customers if they need a bag at all.
One critical final step for any sustainable initiative is education.
Make sure co-workers understand your policies for reducing and managing waste and cutting electricity use, and put it in writing. Get workers’ ideas too and incorporate them into your plan.
Ultimately, set up a very clear guidelines visible at every strategic points of your business spaces.
Finally, besides the fact that the customers consume educatively in order to have a positive impact on the environment and are expecting you to help them in making this change happen it is now a survival matter for a business to integrated eco-consciousness in their model.
All starts with small actions, but it would certainly and positively impacts both the environment and the financial results.