Sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. With declining natural resources, it’s more important than ever for everyone- including businesses- to operate sustainably. Plus an increasing number of people now choose to patronize only sustainable businesses. So it’s in any company’s best interest to ensure its sustainable practices are up to par. However, there are some common mistakes that undermine even the best sustainability efforts.
If your business is guilty of any of these, it’s time to make some changes.
Not Conducting a Sustainability Audit
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. This is especially true when it comes to sustainability. You need to know where your business stands in terms of its environmental impact to make improvements.
For example, say you’re in agribusiness. An audit may reveal that your shortcoming is water wastage and guide you to incorporating measures like precision irrigation software, saving you from focusing only on elaborate waste disposal measures.
To conduct a sustainability audit, the top things you’ll need to measure are water usage, energy consumption, and waste production. You can do this in-house or hire a consultancy.
Not Incorporating Sustainability Into the Business Model
Many businesses treat sustainability as an afterthought, something that’s nice to have but not essential. This is a mistake, as sustainable practices are good for the planet as well as for business. When incorporated properly, they can help a business save money, attract and retain talent, and boost brand image.
To make sustainability a part of your business model, start by incorporating it into your mission and values. Then, ensure that all of your decisions – from the products you sell to the suppliers you use – align with those values. And finally, track your progress.
Failing to Engage Stakeholders
Sustainability is not something that can be achieved in a vacuum. It requires participation from all levels of an organization. To get buy-in, you need to engage your stakeholders early and often.
This means communicating why sustainability is important, not just for the environment but for the bottom line as well. It also means involving everyone in the process of creating a sustainability plan and setting goals. The more invested stakeholders are, the more likely they are to support your efforts.
Not Having a Plan B
No matter how well you plan, there will always be unforeseen challenges when it comes to sustainability. For example, what happens if one of your key suppliers goes out of business or is unable to meet your sustainability standards? Or, what if there’s a sudden surge in demand for a non-sustainable product?
Having a comprehensive contingency plan is the best way to keep your business on track to achieve its sustainability goals when problems inevitably arise.
To formulate a plan B, start by identifying as far as possible potential risks and problem areas. Then, develop a response plan for each one. Also, have a contingency fund.
Sustainability is important for businesses of all sizes. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can set your company up for success.