Time for Climate Action: 5 tips to become a sustainable business!
In honor of Earth Week and PIRATEx’s Time for Climate Action activities, we connected with Kristine Nagle, the founder of Your Impact House, a sustainability consultancy for companies looking to make a lighter impact on the climate. We asked Kristine what were some of the top things companies could do to develop a plan to reduce their impact on the climate. Find out what she had to say on how you can have a sustainable business.
1 – Define what and why to make it last
The first step on the sustainability journey for any company is to define what sustainability means for you. The classical definition of sustainability is “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level forever.” However, in the business world, being sustainable means very different things for different companies. Defining sustainability is my first tip to become a sustainable business but also the trickiest step, and many companies don’t get beyond this point, getting caught up in research and confusion. My suggestion to founders is to look at what your competition is doing, what your customers expect from you, and decide what feels authentic and genuine to the founding team. If these three things are covered, becoming a sustainable business will be a project that sticks.
2 – Understand what metrics you will be tracking as early as possible
Following the first step, you will identify some areas in which your company can take action and deliver a positive impact. The trick then is to ensure that you track the progress like you would for any other project. If you share on the website how many customers you have, why wouldn’t you share how many tons of plastic you have saved thanks to your efforts? But, for you to have this data, you need a process for tracking it. And a person who is responsible for implementation and progress. More on that later.
3 – Communicate sustainability internally first, always
Your company’s sustainability and responsibility show what kind of organization you are and what values the leadership team hold. It is critical to ensure your team sees the company’s leadership committed to sustainability and sharing the results, rather than reading about it from a press release on the media. This creates trust in your sustainability efforts within the team and makes employees proud to be part of the company, making employees more loyal and reduces employee rotation.
4 – Sustainability can’t be a “passion project” of one employee
One of the biggest stigmas around sustainability is that people work on it just because of the passion for making the world a better place. It can be a crucial motivator, but sustainability is much more than that. Sustainability solutions can increase company value in investors’ eyes. Sustainability can also help attract new customer segments, and increase brand loyalty from the current ones. Accordingly, sustainability projects can’t be something people do “on the side when they have extra time” as sustainability increases the company’s financial benefits. If you do not incorporate sustainability projects in the evaluation process (goals, KPIs), it won’t stick, and you won’t get results.
5 – Make sure you don’t greenwash
Sustainability is a project that many marketers are afraid of communicating because of potential backlash and the risks involved. You can significantly reduce the risk of ruining your company’s reputation and losing the trust people have in you by investing in sustainability communication training. The training usually is the most necessary to the leadership team. Still, it’s equally necessary that marketing, sales, and customer support team members know how to talk about this topic honestly, with data and valid arguments.
The Bottom Line
Thank you Kristine for helping us kick off Time for Climate Action!
Check out the other ways you can help make your work more sustainable on our action page here. There, you’ll find lots of top tips that you can do to reduce your impact on the planet, all in 5 minutes or less.