Over the last decade, environmental concerns and sustainability have become hot topics for governments, businesses and individuals around the world.
Last year, ‘net-zero’ start-ups in Europe raised a total of £2.1 billion from venture capital funds – a whopping 129% increase on the year before. While today, it was reported that poor ESG practices is the cause behind up to 2 in 5 businesses struggling to find staff.
There has been a huge sustainability drive in recent years, with companies such as ByHumans, Pangaia and Lucy & Yak creating popular sustainable, ethical clothing, and people steering away from ‘fast fashion’ outlets and brands such as ASOS and Boohoo. We’ve also seen many businesses committing to cease using plastic bags.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly helped with sustainability goals, with fewer people commuting to work via cars, buses and trains, but as we all start returning to the office, it’s important that businesses don’t lose sight of their sustainability goals. Here are some ways you can encourage sustainability within your business, along with reasons why you should embrace it.
As workers head back to the office, there will be natural misgivings about using public transport particularly as COVID-19 still exists within the population, and as we move into flu season.
Active commuting has become a popular way to combat this, and is a good way to break up a sedentary workday. At the beginning of the first lockdown, Halfords reported a 500% rise in cycling equipment sales, whilst cycle-to-work schemes have reportedly doubled their take-up. Companies can use this to their advantage by encouraging employees to use e-bikes or e-scooters to journey into the office.
Every email hoarded in an inbox uses energy. The average email user holds around 10,000 emails in their inbox, which is enough to drive a car 212 metres. This may not sound like much when you think it’s only you, but consider a company of 50–100 people doing the same thing, or maybe even more.
Encouraging employees to delete old emails and emails that don’t need to be stored is a positive step to reducing carbon emissions, and an easy step to take for companies looking to make a positive change.
It’s important to recognise what you know and what you don’t. If you’re unsure about how to start becoming a sustainable, environmentally conscious company, bring in an external advisor to help you see where you need to focus and create a roadmap for your business going forward.
Aside from the obvious environmental benefits of adopting a sustainable business model, there is now a huge public emphasis on companies to be more socially responsible, and companies who are not are lambasted in the press. It’s particularly important if you’re in retail, but the general importance of being a more sustainable, environmentally friendly business cannot be overstated – it can boost staff morale and retention, encourage customer loyalty and of course go a long way in helping to battle the effects of climate change.
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