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Positively Uncomfortable? | How can businesses become more sustainable in 2021

June 2, 2021

After an eye-opening conversation with Rosemary Randal (the founder of ‘Carbon Conversations’), it became clear that constantly challenging our mindset was essential in pushing forward and having a real impact. This isn’t always an easy thing to do & very often, people report feeling very uncomfortable. This is understandable; It can be extremely hard for individuals and businesses to face the facts that we all have way more power than we would like to let on. Many of us shy away from having these conversations because of how they make us feel. Climate change, Global Warming, species going extinct are all very harsh realities that are happening as a result of human activity.

The next question to ask is, what can we do, as individuals, as families & as businesses, to stand in the gap & to make room for climate action.

Let’s focus on businesses. There are many reasons why becoming more sustainable is a positive move for your company. Firstly, It will communicate to your customers/clients that you are a reputable brand to align with. Secondly, when you make a stand to implement sustainable practices, you’re making it clear that you’re running a purpose-driven business.

Here are few things your businesses can do to become positively uncomfortable:

  • Strategises: This may seem quite excessive, but it is crucial to implementing real change within your business structure. It is helpful for you to reflect on & consider hypothetical risks. During this time, the appointed strategist should look at how to both monitor & measure the alternative methods you have put in place. It is essential to keep an eye on whether your processes are making your business more sustainable or not.

Your business should also consider offsetting its carbon footprint. This is an excellent method to create a real impact. Remember, we can help with that!

  • Challenge the culture: Sharing with your employees the stance of the company on sustainability is one thing. Empowering them to embark on this journey with you is another thing. Businesses often underestimate how much impact company culture has on employee behaviours. One very effective method is to build in nature to their working environment. There is scientific evidence that proves that green spaces help elevate stress, people feel calmer & they feel more prompted to practice mindfulness.

Another fundamental way to challenge the culture is by monitoring what is accessible; you can look at the following things:

  • Introduce coffee mugs into the workspaces, remove all the plastic intensive products & try to adopt more sustainable practise.
  • Encourage staff to bring in water bottles &/or supply cups they can use.
  • Strategically put around ‘switch off signs’ near sockets, encourage staff to only use the sockets when necessary.

You can also look at getting your employees to be more excited about the culture shift! Run green challenges & reward employees that go out of their way to make that active change. It is important to remember that culture is heavily linked to behaviour. We create culture. We have the power to redefine them too.

  • Review your suppliers: Your business has the power to decide where it wants to put its money. You can ask directly to see their entire product range or their CSR policy. Remember not to shy away from asking these critical questions! You are not alone & being upfront about your needs puts ‘positive’ pressure on these companies to review their range of products.

You can also take some time out to review your current purchases & try to ask the critical questions (going back to the point above about having a strategy)

  • Do we have a single-use plastic void in boxes?
  • Are there centralised waste bins in the office space?
  • Do we have a recycling system in place?
  • Have we found effective ways to reuse any packaging?

As the famous saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, but the real lesson in that saying is that Rome was built. We have to do what we can to take these steps to make a change. As we do so in our personal lives, we can do the same in our workspaces.

Finally, you may not be senior management or the CEO, but that doesn’t remove the influence you could have if you try. Communicate the importance of trying to your company & be a part of the change.

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