The environment recovers not that fast while different green innovative initiatives do not keep up pace with the scale of industrial business of the developing countries. Being an environmentally responsible company, you must understand your decisions about waste, energy and water have a significant impact on how the organization is perceived by consumers and how it remains profitable. Today, many companies are moving towards sustainable businesses, from a single plan for recycling office paper to smart building technologies, integrated solar energy and geothermal energy. But how to build a business in harmony with the environment from the very start?
Eco, environment, sustainability - what does this even mean?
There are many terms for all sorts of environmental friendliness and it is easy to get confused with them. Eco-friendly / "green" (green), environmentally sustainable (sustainable), environmentally friendly (eco-friendly), etc. The thoughtless use of these words, especially by marketing specialists, has created certain difficulties. All of these terms indicate awareness, environmental and social responsibility, so technically they can be used interchangeably. But slight differences in definitions exist.
- Eco-friendly or "green". The term is often replaced by the prefix eco and is used in everyday speech to refer to just about anything that has environmental benefits, from stocks to fashion and architecture.
- Environmentally sustainable. The term has the most accurate definition and describes a wide range of activities and issues that, according to the United Nations, “do not endanger the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. Environmental sustainability is long-term oriented and assumes that an action or element brings environmental, economic and social benefits without polluting the environment or spending too many resources.
- Eco-friendly is not such a broad term and only means that something does not harm our planet.
Environmental sustainability has a much higher standard. It includes organic products and environmentally friendly activities, but “green” does not necessarily mean “environmentally sustainable”. For example, a product made from renewable resources is considered environmentally friendly, but if analysis of its life cycle shows that it requires a lot of energy to produce and export it, and if there is no decent way to utilize this product, then it is not environmentally sustainable.
How can you make your business more sustainable?
An environmentally sustainable business or green business is one that has the least negative impact on the global or local environment, society and economy. Making a company more environmentally sustainable can help you cut costs, control risks, enhance your reputation, and create new business opportunities. For example, you can reduce the use of raw materials or energy or use renewable resources, and thereby tap into new markets of more efficient or innovative products. Along with the benefits to society and the environment, improving environmental sustainability directly affects the financial performance of your company.
Simple tricks to launch sustainability agenda:
1. Full resource efficiency
We can use natural resources more economically by increasing their productivity 10 or even 100 times. It is necessary to reduce dependence on energy and materials derived from resources extracted from the Earth. This will help us solve the problem of the depletion of natural resources.
2. Investment in natural resources
We need to restore, maintain and expand ecosystems that will in turn support communities and the needs of business. Sustainable production is looking for ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels through the use of natural or alternative fuels.
Alternatives for traditional energy sources can be also encouraged on a wide range of business levels. For example, you can stimulate employees to use alternative means of transportation, such as bicycles or public transportation.
3. Environmental redevelopment
We can use a closed-loop production system in which industrial waste and end-of-life disposal are reused as a resource rather than sent to landfill. In addition, it is necessary to eliminate chemical and man-made toxic substances from our production processes.
4. Services instead of goods
We may replace products with services or rent them out instead of selling. If a product is out of date or beyond repair, it can be recycled or upgraded to a returned product.
5. Responsible consumption
Seemingly contradictory, responsible product use reduces the need for materials and reduces the associated waste and pollution. We must encourage responsible consumption by educating consumers to make better decisions about their purchases, take into account the place of origin of products, production conditions, ingredients, packaging, sustainability of the product life cycle and other criteria related to environmental sustainability. New forms of company ownership and profit sharing ensure a more equitable distribution of company success among employees and other stakeholders. We must avoid any inattentive interference with people's ability to meet their basic needs.
Improving environmental sustainability cannot be achieved by one person or one business: everyone should take part in this process. When approaching the issue of sustainable development scenario of the generations, it becomes evident that leadership and commitment to a healthy and secure future are surprisingly easy to achieve by joining business leaders who are making sustainable choices.