Many businesses right now are looking to be more eco-friendly, for a number of great reasons. Did you know that according to recent studies, two-thirds of consumers say they will pay more for sustainable products? Adjusting to match consumers’ sustainability demands is simply better overall. Each business may have a different reason to become more sustainable for the planet and can range from the following: Saving money Employee recruitment Competitive advantage New ways to approach products Staying ahead of government regulations First, decide what motivates you to make the change toward sustainability. Do any of the reasons listed above jump out to you? After finding out what motivates you to make this positive step, the next is evaluating where your company's emissions level stands. This requires taking a deep dive into your energy, water, heating, lighting, equipment, transportation and waste emissions. In order to know where to improve, you need to know where you’re at. This can be done with the help of a professional outside of your firm, or by hiring someone educated in environmental sustainability onto your team internally. Once you have an idea of your business’ emissions levels, the next step is to decide on a path of emissions reductions. Below are some emission reduction ideas based on motivators; however, a good rule of thumb is to prioritize your actions based on what will reduce the most emissions most easily. That means, if more emissions are reduced by making a certain change that is easy to make, choose to do that action first. Motivator: Saving money Emissions reductions in general can add up to significant money savings overall. Finding efficiencies in processes, or updating or phasing out some outdated equipment like changing lighting, water efficiency upgrades and moving away from older diesel/gasoline equipment can save emissions and money. In addition to this, making a change in your company’s waste disposal processes – moving from landfill to composting all organics, recycling more and diverting more from the landfill – actually makes a huge difference on emissions. Did you know that over 40% of our waste stream going to landfills is actually organics? Organic material in landfills produces methane which is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Motivator: Employee recruitment and retention More than ever, employees want to work for a company or organization that shares their values. Employee recruitment actions on sustainability could include promoting sustainable transportation for staff, such as bus passes, offering remote/hybrid work, or installing bike racks at the office. It could also mean composting and recycling more at work or making a conscious choice in what your company purchases, so it’s not adding to our planet’s problems. Involving employees in the sustainability solution will not only reduce emissions, but it will make your office a better place to work. Motivator: Competitive advantage Competitive advantage could include knowing the life cycle of your products and making sure they’re sustainable. A product’s life cycle takes into account everything from how the material is sourced, made, shipped, used and then disposed of (or ideally, reused or repurposed). Choosing more sustainable options for your products gives your company a competitive edge in today’s market. Responsible shipping and transparency about materials is what consumers are demanding right now. One example is committing to 100% recycled material, reducing plastic and packaging waste, and being careful about how you choose to ship (hint: air shipping means LOTS of emissions!). By showing your customers that you’re committed to sustainability, they'll know they are supporting a company that matches their desire to help the environment. Motivator: Rethinking and refreshing your products New ways to approach the products you make could include changing where items are sourced and choosing new inputs that are more sustainable. It could also mean finding efficiencies in processes to reduce energy water or waste, and therefore emissions levels. If you’re in a place to update and refresh, make sustainability top-of-mind. Motivator: Government regulations If staying ahead of the curve and not running into unexpected setbacks is what you look for, then educating yourself and your staff on sustainability should be a priority. Governments have been increasing their focus on the environment, especially around plastic, so if your business uses plastic in your packaging or products, perhaps it’s a great time to focus on planet-friendly alternatives. No matter what action you choose to take, any step towards sustainability and continuing to build on it will be the right choice.