You don’t need to be Greta Thunberg to know that climate change is a big issue that’s impacting our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s recycling at home or dutifully taking your ‘bag for life’ to the supermarket, most of us are trying to do our bit.
Sadly, however, many businesses are yet to get with the programme. It’s not because they’re nefarious villains who put profit above principles; it’s because they genuinely don’t know where to start. They’re frightened of getting bogged down in the detail like Swampy stuck in a slough of sludge.
Fortunately, the surprising reality is that sustainability is a relative cinch. It’s simply a matter of making practical changes that you can implement with ease. Even better, adopting a sustainable approach can actually save you agency money and boost profitability.
We've created a handy guide that offers six sensible ways that agents can become more sustainable. The below article summarises these, but you can access the full, 37-page guide for free here.
The advantages of sustainability
Sustainability is all about efficiency. And ‘efficiency’ is one of business owners’ favourites words. It reduces waste, paves the way to greater productivity, and ultimately boosts your bottom line. So what’s not to like?
Furthermore, sustainability sways. It makes companies more attractive to potential customers, many of whom share sustainable values, and it enhances your agency’s reputation. Think about all the wonderful PR opportunities that arise from saving the planet.
Boosting one’s eco-credentials can also help you to attract and retain the best people. Millennials, who comprise the largest part of today’s workforce, prefer working for and shopping at sustainable organisations. Consequently there are hard-headed business reasons, as well as utilitarian and philanthropic ones, to embrace sustainability.
The big question, of course, is where to begin. What changes could or should you make? We suggest targeting six key areas: energy, waste, recycling, travel, programmes, plus using new technologies and applications to work collaboratively in a paperless environment.
One of the best ways to embrace sustainability is to choose a green energy supplier. Visiting Big Clean Switch, which compares the best green tariffs from the best eco-friendly providers, is a great place to look. You could also contact your existing supplier to switch to a green tariff.
It’s also important to save energy. LEDs use 90% less energy than traditional light bulbs so making this switch is a no-brainer. You could also try smart lighting, which automatically turns off when nobody’s around.
Tossing a plastic bottle away is easy. But the idea of it floating in the ocean, later on, is much harder to deal with. Your team should therefore use paper cups and reusable bottles when possible.
You should remember that sustainability is a state of mind. It’s about changing the way we think to shun convenience. This means reusing pens, reducing reliance on paper, and saving water.
We recycle at home so why not in the office? Recycling is still one of simplest but most important ways to act sustainably. And it’s not just about plastics, paper, cans, and bottles. You can recycle printer cartridges and electrical equipment too.
Setting up a recycling station in a prominent but convenient location, with clearly labelled bins for each material, should help enormously.
One of the most eco-friendly things you can do is leave your car at home. After all, cars produce 20% of the UK’s total emissions. Why not try ‘leave your car at home’ days? Electric vehicles are also becoming much more affordable.
Working from home is eco-friendly as well. Remote working has the potential to save over three million tonnes of carbon every year.
The paperless office is a wonderful concept – no messy desks, no crumpled-up documents, no massive files to manage and store. It could transform your whole agency environment.
Going digital has several advantages. There are no extensive documents to print and distribute, file sharing applications save time, and collaboration within your team becomes faster and simpler.
Great minds think alike. And sustainable businesses flock together. They exchange ideas and create joint schemes. For example, we plant a mangrove tree for every new customer as part of our partnership with Worldview International Foundation.
Charitable giving is also still in vogue and many sustainable businesses give a percentage of their profits to charity. Environmental charities have suffered badly during the pandemic and badly need our help.
Creating a sustainable culture
The great thing about all these changes is that they’re easy to implement. You don’t need to be an eco-warrior to fight the good fight; you just need to make some simple changes and stick with them. Take it one step at a time, so your team gets used to each change, before slowly introducing the next measure.
It’s also important to remember that sustainability isn’t a religion. It’s not a strict code and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Simply do what you can. You might want to swap from petrol vehicles to electric, or maybe just focus on recycling more and throwing away less. It’s completely up to you.
If you’d like to go totally eco then consider attaining B Corp status. B Corps adopt the highest standards of social and environmental performance. They put purpose above profit, benefit society, and minimise their carbon footprint. But you won’t need to become a B Corp to make a valuable contribution. Every little helps.
For more information on sustainability, check out our Sold On Sustainability Guide. You’ll learn more about the benefits, read interesting stats and facts, and discover more small changes that can make a big difference. Remember that none of these changes cost the earth. It’s saving the Earth that’s important.