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Sustainability pays off for businesses, but that doesn’t mean it comes without any challenges.
In fact, many managers still have to convince the C-suite that sustainability is a worthwhile investment and that they’ll be able to measure success.
Here are some of the biggest sustainability challenges currently facing corporations and what you can do to resolve them.
First and foremost, one of the main challenges in corporate sustainability is making the business case.
In theory, your managers and C-suite know that sustainability is a good idea. They may even agree with it from a moral perspective. But putting it into action is a separate matter entirely, especially if your business has limited resources.
For many, the narrative of sustainability is inextricably tied with higher costs for business owners. In reality, the exact opposite is true.
Think about it.
Let’s say you invest in energy-efficient lighting. Sure, you may have to pay a bit more upfront, but you’re shaving money off your monthly energy bill every month thereafter.
So in reality, that investment will pay for itself in no time at all.
The same is true of other sustainability practices. You can spend less money on paper, waste less water, and even make more money by making sustainable products. Remember, consumers want sustainable products, and they’re willing to pay good money for them.
Another big challenge for many managers is creating sustainability metrics that will measure the success of their programs.
Let’s say you’re looking to reduce water usage. How do you prove that the system you implemented is using less water? Or, if you’re looking to reduce your overall carbon footprint, how do you prove that a new process is directly impacting your environment?
More importantly, how do you prove it in a way that shows the real business value to your managers?
The best way to approach this is by establishing your metrics for success while you’re planning your new sustainability initiative. It’s usually a matter of watching numbers in the right places – as long as you know what goals you’re trying to accomplish, it’s easier to know what metrics you’re using.
Finally, many sustainability initiatives are full of good ideas but wind up straggling. This is often for the same reason: they can’t figure out how to get management and employees on board.
After all, we’re creatures of habit. We like doing things the same way. If we have to change, there’s going to be a bit of protest.
The best way to re-establish new habits is to incentivize change and reward positive behavior. And no, we’re not talking about a pat on the back.
If your workforce is especially resistant, nothing speaks quite so loud as concrete incentives. If you’re trying to make employees participate in a wellness program, for example, set a metric for participation that will translate into healthcare benefits.
If you can afford it, bonuses are always a great motivation.
That said, you do need to give small rewards to encourage ongoing change. Not every employee will get the reward, but they do still need encouragement to comply. Show them that their efforts are being noticed and appreciated.
When it comes to sustainability, talk isn’t enough. You have to be ready to effect real change, even if you’re fighting an uphill battle.
That’s why we’re here to help you face your biggest sustainability challenges head-on with sustainability solutions that actually work.
Want to find out how we can help you thrive? Get in touch today to learn more.
Since 2009, the team at EHS Insight have been on a mission to make the world a better place. Join us by subscribing to our Blog and receive updates on what’s new in the world of EHS, our software and other related topics.
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