In today’s competitive market, being able to demonstrate your sustainability credentials is important.

Showing superior sustainability performance can be the difference between winning and losing a new client. This is particularly true for companies that service the public or corporate sector.

What Type Of Sustainability Initiatives Are You Promoting?

Indeed, sustainability initiatives can lead to innovative product and service developments that open up new markets and offer tangible competitive advantage. You only need to look at traditional behemoths like Unilever, GE and Nestle that now offer amazingly innovative sustainable products and services that drive huge value in their businesses!

Moreover, a well thought out sustainability policy can help identify resource and energy inefficiencies in your operation that can save lots of money. For example, Wal-Mart was able to reduce their environmental impact and save significant costs by tackling inefficiencies in their value chain. The retailer has reduced packaging saving millions in lower disposal costs, and invested in better route planning for its huge fleet of trucks which cut out 100 million miles from their annual delivery routes, saving $200 million.

The question is where should a business start on their sustainability journey?

In our experience the most impactful sustainability programs begin with a policy that sets the strategic direction for improved sustainability and environmental performance.

A robust sustainability and environmental policy allows a company to focus efforts around key initiatives without getting distracted.

It ensures accountability and is very effective in communicating to staff and other stakeholders a clear message of intent for improved sustainability performance.

There are four ingredients to consider when developing a sustainability and environmental policy. Get these ingredients right and you will see how sustainability can drive real value in your business.

Start with your core business

The question to ask is: what do we fundamentally do as a company and how can we do this better from a sustainability perspective?

Initiatives don’t need to revolutionize

It is easy to get carried away with answering the question above. Often solutions will be impractical, too expensive or too risky. Start small, with incremental initiatives that move the sustainability dial one notch at a time

Sustainability is a marathon not a sprint

Incremental change means taking people along the journey with you, demonstrating and celebrating the small wins and then having a plan to continue moving forward

People make changes not technology

Ultimately sustainability is about your people. It is key that leaders lead from the front and that staff feel engaged and empowered to make changes. Technology is a very important enabler of change but at the end of the day it is people who have to make the change.

Remember to follow these four principles and you will be guaranteed to develop a sustainability approach that wows customers, positively engages staff and outdoes competitors!

Your Thoughts On Going Green?

So what do you think about sustainability initiatives in the workplace? Do you think they could be time consuming? Or do you think it can made into a simple task? Let us know in the comments.