By Justin O’Sullivan
As 2018 begins, businesses across the country will be thinking of ways that they can leverage the spirit of the New Year in order to become more sustainable. If you want to be one of those businesses — and if you want 2018 to be your year — then here’s how it can be done.
Order a More Sustainable Supply Chain
When focusing on sustainability, many businesses start by looking inwards. Saving electricity, encouraging recycling and reducing waste are all things you can do right away to improve your business’ sustainability. What’s more, you can do all of those things from your workplace.
However, while focusing on the stuff which happens in your own workplace is important, there’s a lot which happens beyond your workplace which is impacted by your business decisions. Whether you are a producer, distributor, retailer, or service provider, your business will likely be involved in some kind of supply chain.
Creating a more sustainable supply chain is a difficult thing, because it’s not something which you necessarily have complete control over. Still, you should do what you can — and what you can do is to look at every possible element of your supply chain and figure out what you are in control of and what you are not.
For example, a coffee shop might be in control of where they order their coffee from, but they won’t necessarily be in control of who provides their electricity if the outlet is part of a shopping centre or a larger building complex. Change what you can control as soon as you can — such as by ordering coffee from sustainable, Fair Trade suppliers — and campaign for what you can’t change through letter writing, emails and social media.
Save the Planet with Safety
It’s both intuitively true and factually true that safer businesses are also more sustainable. The intuition stems from how safety and sustainability both require long-term planning and long-term investment.
Spending money on new safety equipment, paying employees to do a more thorough risk assessment, or booking SEMA racking inspection training: these investments won’t pay off in the short term. Yet, in the long term, these investments will lead to fewer workplace injuries and fewer workplace illnesses. In turn, this means less money spent on sick days and sick pay, less money taken away due to fines, and higher levels of productivity.
Sustainability is a similar investment. Spending money on solar panels, training employees to adopt more sustainable practices, and switching energy suppliers: these investments won’t pay off in the short term. Yet, in the long term, these investments will lead to less energy use and less waste. In turn, this means less money spent on unused energy and less money spent on waste.
Eco-Friendly is PR-Friendly
The tide is turning against wasteful, polluting businesses. Given the choice between two products or services which are completely identical apart from how sustainable they are, most consumers would choose the more sustainable product or service.
Unsustainable businesses aren’t marketable. If they were, big businesses would never stop bragging about how much waste they create and how much they pollute. Sustainable businesses, on the other hand, are extremely marketable. Every business wants to appear to be helping the planet, but many consumers see right through this. That is, of course, unless those businesses are actually helping the planet.
The reason that sustainable business should be your New Year’s Resolution in 2018 is that it is both a moral and a financial obligation. It is a moral obligation because of the negative impact which unsustainable business continues to have on our planet and the positive impact sustainable business has on the safety of your business. Yet, it’s also a financial obligation because of the return on investment delivered by money spent on being a safer business.
Justin O’Sullivan is the owner of Storage Equipment Experts and a specialist in SEMA racking inspections guidelines and SEMA racking inspection training. Justin’s business — Storage Equipment Experts — helps other businesses across the UK and Ireland to increase their standards of safety.