How to Keep Your Business Accountable to Your Green Messaging
There is a lot that goes into running a successful business. From managing employees, to budgeting to meet financial obligations, to keeping customers happy — a company leader is always on their toes. Like it or not, sustainability and green marketing have quickly become another thing to balance on an already large plate.
Today, environmental awareness is almost a required element of successful business operations. Thanks to advancements in monitoring technology and social media, companies have a really hard time hiding or disguising their true environmental impact. Now more than ever before, customers are demanding that business leaders take the initiative to do something about it and make a positive difference.
For many businesses, taking the initiative to work towards adopting more sustainable policies is a no-brainer. It keeps customers happy and, if done right, can actually save the company money over time. However, keeping the momentum rolling forward and continuing to make green advances can be difficult in the best of times.
Going Green and Staying Green
The idea of going green and planning to improve sustainability in the company is an easy one to wrap your head around. But, it becomes substantially more difficult when it comes to determining the best routes to take for implementation. Should your company start with making the office space more sustainable by updating the HVAC system and implementing a work from home opportunity for employees? Or is it better to tackle supply chains head on? Or should green improvements come in investments in green research and development for the company’s future?
Determining what is the best move is no easy decision, and honestly, the one that is best for each company will vary. Some companies can make huge strides by upgrading a building or adjusting work policies for employees. Others will see the biggest improvements by adjusting supply chains and sourcing products that are produced locally or that are made in smaller batches or with less impactful chemicals. Some combination of all of these things may also be the best move.
In the mad rush to keep up with the competition and become more sustainable, it is easy to lose the authenticity the company is striving for. Greenwashing is becoming particularly prevalent in many marketing schemes. Some of the big things that companies can do to avoid greenwashing are somewhat simple. For instance, avoid using buzzwords that aren’t 100% true. Likewise, don’t market being sustainable without the examples of what the company is doing to back it up. Without transparency, there is no authenticity.
Keep the Sustainability Coming
Regardless of what sustainability goals the company sets, it is imperative to keep working towards them in steady steps. They don’t have to be huge changes all at once; in fact, it may be more realistic for the business to make small changes each year. Once goals are met, celebrate them! But also set new goals the company can strive for.
One way to help keep goals in focus is to hire a sustainability specialist. These professionals work to incorporate both long- and short-term sustainability goals into business operations. They can help keep the company on track, brainstorm new initiatives to keep moving forward, and build partnerships with green organizations that can help both entities reach cleaner goals.
It isn’t always going to be easy to stick to sustainability goals. There will be trying times where business leaders have to decide between sticking to their guns and abandoning values. In these times, saying ‘no’ and staying the course of being sustainable can be difficult, but these choices should also be counted as victories. Finding a sustainability framework that will enable the company to stay true to its values will reap long-term benefits.
Going green and staying green aren’t always the easiest parts of running a business, but they are becoming essential components of success. Determining which changes the company will make and working towards goals are a great first couple of steps. However, to keep the ball rolling, it will be important to continue to strive to meet new goals and to stay true to the company’s overall values.