Sustainability in business and the workplace

Table Of Contents

According to Mckinsey research conducted in 2017 (analysing the integration of sustainability in the workplace), 70% of the participants revealed that “their companies have some form of governance in place dedicated to sustainability issues.”

According to the same survey, “companies are increasingly formalizing the way they govern sustainability programs, as well as elevating the importance of diversity and inclusion.” Sustainable responsibility within the workplace is slowly establishing itself as a fundamental aspect of day-to-day operations. 

This means more job opportunities for those who are passionate about emphasising the importance of environmental awareness within the workplace. 

Sustainability in the context of the workplace aims to convey the importance of:

  • The impacts on society as a result of corporate activities

Heat-waves and natural disasters that occur as a result of climate change also affect the way in which society operates. People are less productive as a result of extreme temperatures and therefore less productive within the workplace.
  

  • The environmental impacts as a result of corporate activities

Both privately and publicly owned firms are culpable for worsening the climate emergency that threatens the future of humanity. As demand increases, many firms are happy to increase supply at the cost of causing further damage to the environment. 

The guardian compiled a list of 20 firms that are responsible for up to one third of all carbon emissions emitted annually. The analysis was conducted by Richard Heede from the American Climate Accountability Institute.

How can firms establish a business strategy with sustainability in mind?

Establishing end goals is a great place to start, i.e. what is it to be achieved by introducing sustainable behavior in the workplace? Some goals include:

  • Reducing emissions
  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Using eco-friendly office supplies
  • Reducing pollution
  • Using eco-friendly materials
  • Employing people responsible for creating a sustainable working culture

After this, analysing the current output provides an insight of how much work / changes need to be made in order to achieve a zero waste working culture. 

Asking questions such as:

  • What environmental impact are current activities having on the local community?
  • Why is sustainability important in the workplace?
  • How much waste is currently being created? 
  • Are there existing employees responsible for overseeing sustainable responsibilities?

Why is sustainability important in the workplace?

  • Helps to attract (new) eco conscious customers

Firms that embrace sustainable practices in the workplace can expect to appeal to new audiences that hold environmental awareness in high regard. By promoting sustainable behavior in the workplace, firms may increase profits while saving the environment at the same time.

  • Helps to increase business performance and revenue

Aside from attracting new customers, businesses that implement a sustainable working culture can expect to have higher revenues. According to Mckinsey, firms with higher ESG (environmental, social and governance) scores are more likely to be successful in terms of financial turnover. Investors look at these scores when considering which business to invest in, so paying attention to ESG is an important factor for any business to consider.

  • Helps to improve employee morale

Employees that are environmentally conscious will appreciate working in a space that prioritises environmental safety and protection. Additionally, working in a clean, less polluted environment is also proven to enhance employee productivity and morale, according to some studies.

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