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Understanding and Implementing Corporate Sustainability

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on September 6, 2019 at 9:35 AM

In the day and age of increasing ecological and safety awareness, corporate sustainability has become a major buzzword.

It’s even become a key concern for safety programs.

But what is corporate sustainability, and how can your company create a sustainability program that actually works? Here’s what you need to know to set your company up for success.

What Is Corporate Sustainability?

Sustainability is typically defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. It consists of three pillars:

  1. Environmental (planet) - The environmental pillar is the one that gets the most attention. This is the area that leads businesses to focus on reducing water usage, using clean energy, and reducing their carbon footprint. Some industries, like mining and metals, have a far higher environmental impact than others, so they focus on benchmarking.

  2. Economic (profits) - That said, the economic pillar is the area where most businesses feel secure. A business must be profitable to be sustainable, but profit cannot outweigh the other two pillars. As such, the economic pillar focuses on aligning the financial needs of the company with the larger needs of the community.

  3. Social (people) - Finally, there’s the social pillar, which ties into the concept of social license. Basically, businesses need the support of their employees and community members, which they can achieve by being a good neighbor and treating others fairly.

Tips for Stronger Sustainability Initiatives

With that in mind, let’s talk about sustainability initiatives. The best sustainability initiatives are those that balance all three pillars with grace, addressing the needs of the company and the community while gaining approval on both sides.

Keep It Simple and Scalable

First and foremost, keep your sustainability initiatives simple and scalable.

A simpler program is easier to implement and maintain. It’s also easier for employees to understand and accept. For example, an annual physical or health screening is completely covered by health insurance. A smoke-free or smoking cessation affidavit is free and easy (as long as you follow through).

That said, don’t be shy about scaling big ideas to meet your small workplace.

For example, let’s say you want to boost your recycling. An effective way to do this is by having employees take home a box or plastic bag home each week so that municipal recycling can pick it up.

Also, remember that even the smallest changes can make a difference. You can reduce your printing costs annually just by reducing the number of slides in presentations, thus reducing the volume of printouts.

Encourage and Reward Positive Change

Keep in mind that your employees are a major component of your sustainability measures. The best way to ensure participation is to encourage and reward positive behavior.

A great way to do this is through financial benefits. For example, if you want employees to participate in a wellness program, reward those who meet the requirements by allowing them to buy down their health insurance premium by a certain amount.

It’s a direct financial incentive and it has a significant impact on the amount of money employees can take home every month.

Working Towards Sustainable Business

Corporate sustainability doesn’t happen overnight. You have to be willing to actively push for the change you want to see. That said, there are ways to make the process easier.

That’s where we come in. We offer sustainability software solutions that your team needs to make informed decisions. You can stop guessing and improve upon data about your energy consumption, carbon emissions, and other key metrics.

Want to see it in action? Get in touch today to start the conversation.

Topics: Sustainability, EHS Management

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