What Are the Benefits of Sustainable Working for Your Business?
When a business adopts sustainable ways of working, the benefits will usually go further than just reducing the carbon footprint at work. Many might believe that implementing sustainable policies for the business will only result in the company losing time, money, or both, just to benefit the environment. But sustainable policies should be an essential part of every business strategy, bringing various advantages to the company’s reputation and profits.
Improve Brand Image
A business with sustainable ways of working immediately has a competitive edge over businesses that don’t. Many consumers are looking for ways to be more eco-friendly, and the organisations that they choose to support are a simple way for them to live more sustainably. Businesses that have implemented sustainable working practices will stand out from competitors, with a higher chance to grow and expand.
Brand image can be improved by businesses that practice and also encourage sustainable living. In a recent study, it was found that 60% of consumers rated sustainability as an important purchase factor and one-third are willing to pay extra for sustainable products. This shows how much customers value sustainability and how a business can benefit by becoming more eco-friendly. This will apply not only to the products or services that the business sells but also in their working practices.
Save Money by Reducing Waste
When a business adopts sustainable ways of working, it can greatly reduce the amount of waste it produces. Not only is this good for the environment, but this can also save the business money. Guidance should be given to staff to reduce how much paper is used – documents should only be printed if absolutely necessary, and it should always be two-sided when possible. Instead of using sticky notes for reminders, staff should have glass memo boards, which can be used over and over again. Staff could be given reusable water bottles, saving the business money if it would usually provide plastic water bottles. Employees should be encouraged to reuse and recycle as much as possible.
You can also help to reduce plastic waste with the equipment you use. Leitz has a whole range of eco-friendly stationery that can help your business to adopt more sustainable working practices. Every product in the range is climate neutral, 100% recyclable and made from a high percentage of recycled materials. For example, our Recycle Lever Arch File is a premium quality file that has FSC and Blue Angel environmental certifications. It’s made from 100% recycled card and can be disassembled to be separated into paper, plastic and metal recycling. The Recycle Waste Paper Bin is made from 98% post-consumer recycled plastic and is also 100% recyclable itself. We also ensure our Recycle range has no packaging waste as most items are shipped with the label only or in fully recyclable packaging materials.
Lower Utility Bills
Improving workplace sustainability can also save a company money on its energy bills. When you work to reduce waste of electricity, water, and gas, you will find that the company’s utility bills are also greatly reduced. Whilst there may sometimes be a need for an initial investment when adjusting working practices, the end result will usually be money saved.
Replacing standard lightbulbs with energy-efficient bulbs will be better for the environment and mean the company can save money on electricity bills. Businesses can create campaigns to encourage employees to adopt environmental practices in the workplace with regard to their energy and water use. This could include switching lights off in rooms that aren’t being used, switching PCs off at the end of the day rather than leaving them on standby, and turning thermostats down a couple of degrees. If businesses can implement sustainable ways of working into the office culture, they’ll find they can save money on bills and ultimately increase profits.
Increase Employee Satisfaction
When a company values environmental practices, it routinely sees higher employee satisfaction. This will mean better employee retention and also give more opportunities to recruit high-quality talent. A study showed that 64% of millennials said they would only take on a role if the company had strong corporate social responsibility and 80% said they would be more loyal to companies that help combat social and environmental issues. Gen-Z place similar values on environmental practices and in four years, they will make up 30% of the working population. If businesses want to appeal to the workforce and attract and retain talent, it will be in their interest to improve their sustainability.
Employees will be more inclined to support a business that they have aligned values with. This will affect both their productivity and also the quality of their work, often producing better results than employees who are unhappy with their employer. Satisfied employees are also more likely to stay with a company, meaning low staff turnover, saving the organisation money on HR and recruiting costs
Adhere to Regulations
More and more environmental legislation is being implemented by governments as climate change continues to be an issue. Businesses that can get ahead of the curve now and improve their sustainability could find they’re in a better position than the organisations that don’t. Those that get left behind could face extra taxes and even fines for not adhering to the new regulations. On the other hand, businesses that adopt environmental policies and ways of working could benefit from tax breaks, grants, and other rewards.
Environmental legalisation for businesses could include the type of material they use in their production, it could relate to the packaging they produce and how recyclable it is, or it could involve how they get rid of their own waste. Businesses that analyse their working practices now and ensure they’re implementing sustainable policies could benefit when regulations are put in place.
What are the Challenges of Sustainable Working for Your Business?
Whilst the benefits of sustainable ways of working will usually greatly outweigh any disadvantages, businesses will need to take the right steps to ensure the changes are successful. You should make sure to measure your progress, from tracking energy usage to monitoring waste. This way you can see if any further efforts need to be made by the business and the staff. Companies will need to find the right way to report on their numbers, so they can show their employees, customers, and investors that the sustainable changes are making a difference.
Businesses should be careful about how they report their sustainable working practices. It can be easy to “green-wash” and oversell how much the business is doing. This can result in customers being put off as they feel the organisation is attempting to sound more eco-friendly than they actually are. All public reporting on sustainability should be clear and not exaggerated.
Asking people to change their default working practices can be a challenge, and it can take time for these changes to be adopted by all staff members. Businesses will need to make it as easy as possible for employees to adapt their ways of working. Senior management should be leading the way and setting the standard for sustainable ways of working.
Moving towards an eco-friendly workplace will usually require an initial investment. For smaller businesses, this isn’t always available, and it can also be a challenge to convince CEOs that the cost will be worth it in the long run. Businesses should start small so they can monitor the success of these changes before making a larger investment. Those that want to see the changes implemented in their business should prepare the numbers to show the decision-makers that sustainable ways of working will be of benefit to the business.
Leitz has a huge range of office tools and equipment for an eco-friendly office, to help make your business more sustainable.
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