5 Steps to Make Sustainability Part of Your Business Model
When you make sustainability a core component of your business model, you commit to, and encourage, lasting and meaningful change. With the effects of climate change being an everyday topic of conversation, consumers are more motivated than ever to support businesses actively look to reduce their carbon footprints and impact on the environment.
In addition, implementing these green changes can provide significant benefits down the line, including monetary benefits and authentic marketing. Whether you are looking into sustainable label manufacturing processes or energy-saving technology, transforming your business models for sustainability is a challenging, but fulfilling, task.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is the ability to continue operating over time without having a negative environmental impact. In the business world, sustainability is viewed as a goal of either minimizing or completely eliminating the negative effect your company has on the environment.
These business practices prioritize people, the planet and everything in between. The consequences of man-made products and goods on climate change have become more apparent, shifting organizations’ focus on being eco-conscious. They use only enough resources to meet their needs, minimizing their carbon footprint and making procedures and supply chains eco-friendly.
1 – Make it Part of Your Mission
Introducing sustainability into your business model can be a complex and expensive process. To do it in a way that feels both effective and authentic, it needs to become a core aspect of your overall mission and not just a marketing ploy or a way to get people talking. It is vital to reflect on this commitment at every stage of the business, from sourcing to manufacturing, packaging and delivery.
On a large scale, considering corporate partners, investors, worker conditions and waste management will reflect the sustainable and ethical principles you have adopted. Regardless of how many working pieces you have to negotiate, adopting this practice into the business’s values will naturally influence the decisions you make moving forward.
2 – Be Comfortable With Imperfection
With every new goal and venture a company undertakes, particularly ones that have such an impact, achieving perfection is often the goal. But the truth is it is not possible to be completely perfect. However, what is achievable is making small, mindful changes which all add up over time to equal large, significant differences.
While your business model should include making necessary changes at all levels, this may not be possible due to budget, industry or other restraints. But this should not deter you from doing what you can with your existing resources. As more sustainable businesses enter the market, more supply chains, materials and partnerships will become available and affordable.
3 – Think Outside the Box
Finding ethical and affordable partners can become a challenge if your business is on the smaller side. Unfortunately, most established supply chains still need to be set up to meet sustainable and ethical principles. As a result, it will likely take longer for you to find suppliers that match your requirements, while still being within the budget you can afford.
However, thinking outside of industry norms may be the solution you are searching for. From supply chains to eco-friendly packing materials, don’t hesitate to look outside your industry or at previously unknown resources now available to you.
4 – Build Community Ties
Investing in your community is a brilliant way to boost your brand and create more impactful marketing. Reach out to popular bloggers who align with your ethics and image, create hashtags for sharing and dedicate time to engage with your customers. Additionally, reach out to other sustainable businesses, as they often look for other eco-brands to promote to their customers. If you can find these resources locally, it will allow you to build a positive reputation within your sustainability community.
This support and sharing is vital to growing sustainable businesses and allow you to access new materials and growing markets you have yet to access. It will also increase your authenticity as a brand and business, cementing yourself in the industry.
5 – Utilize Social Media
In addition to building your community, we live in a digital age where a solid online presence is a significant driving force in the success of your business. Taking advantage of these industries will significantly broaden your audience reach, especially if you have a limited marketing budget.
When customers find brands matching their own sustainable beliefs, social media simplifies the process of sharing this information with their friends and families. Furthermore, when they receive positive customer service alongside their purchases, they are more likely to share these experiences online if they are able to engage with you directly. Finally, creating hashtags connected to your company and encouraging customers to mention or tag you becomes free marketing with minimal effort.
Maintaining a healthy and positive presence across social media takes time and skills to perfect. Investing in an employee with the necessary skill set will maximize online opportunities. Social media trends show it is here to stay and using it to build a global market, and elevated presence, will allow your business to soar.