We live in a world where sustainability is no longer a buzzword; in many ways, stark necessity for green change is evident in our daily lives. And while sustainable individual practices help, the biggest drivers of change are businesses and other large organizations – if you can make a difference in this regard, you can nudge them into taking the following significant steps for a better environment.
Practice internal sustainability
When most people call for businesses to become sustainable, the immediate response tends to be along the lines of improving internal practices. One advantage is that such steps can be very easy to implement; encouraging employees to save power by being vigilant in switching off appliances and lights when not in use is a simple matter of adjusting daily habits. A second advantage is that solutions may come in simple forms such as alternative products or processes, which can even improve efficiency and thus help a business increase its profits.
Instead of consuming energy to heat an entire warehouse, using industrial heating systems allows individual containers of specific products to be kept at the desired temperature, for instance. By looking for ways to improve internal sustainability, you can help any organization make rapid changes towards becoming more environmentally friendly.
Be active in creating a sustainable world
Implementing greener practices within an organization may be a significant step towards sustainability, but in the big picture, these efforts might alleviate only a fraction of the adverse impact that business operations create. They are the low-hanging fruit, in other words; to make lasting changes, an organization must recognize its role in the world ecosystem, and be active in driving sustainability.
Although many companies have yet to step up to the plate, there are some whose efforts are leading the way in this regard. The likes of Coca-Cola and Nike have opened up their water management practices and product materials sustainability index, respectively, so that third parties and the general public can hold them to higher standards and make informed decisions. Companies such as Ford and Starbucks engage their partners and suppliers to ensure that sustainability standards are being met not just internally, but all along the supply chain.
Learning from these examples, you can facilitate such discussions and encourage efforts for greater transparency regarding products and processes.
Explore alternative models for success
As early as 1972, the book Limits to Growth used the available computing technology of those times to create models in which a global society that doesn’t adjust for sustainability would >push against resource constraints and lead to a scenario similar to the one which we now face – a dangerous possibility of irreversible environmental damage and collapse.
Volatility in the price of energy and commodities may eventually make entire lines of business unprofitable or too fraught with risk. Regulations may result in the complete banning of a product, as in the case of CFCs leading to atmospheric ozone destruction. Rather than fighting or delaying such interventions which would protect the environment, businesses and other large-scale organizations should invest in exploring alternative models for success, and be a part of the solution for a sustainable future instead of resisting the collective effort to improve.
Every individual can play their part and adopt green practices to make our world more sustainable. However, the participation of businesses must step up considerably if those efforts are to succeed. If you have the opportunity to make a difference within any organization, driving those efforts in the right direction will enable global and future success.