This is often the first thought most people have when they consider sustainability. Even on its own, this aspect of sustainability is both broad and deep.
The nature of your business will determine where you have the biggest impacts. It is important to understand your relative impacts, as your biggest opportunities to X (multiply) your positive contributions will come from where your biggest impacts are.
A good way to start is to consider your value chain. As an example, consider facilities, direct fleet & plant, raw material production, manufacturing, in-bound logistics, outbound logistics, product and service use and end of life disposal. The impacts are many. From the obvious Green House Gas and Carbon emissions, to water and chemical use, pollutant impact on land and water, and bio-diversity consequences.
The option to ignore your business environmental impacts is rapidly becoming a business life limiting choice. As millennials and younger people start to dominate your workforce and customer base, you are both selling to and recruiting from a pool of people who care about your environmental impact.
Millennials and Generation Z
Three-quarters (76 percent) of Millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, according to the 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study. And since 2016 those sentiments appear to have reinforced.
Another benefit from addressing these issues is cost savings. Many of our clients assume there will be a cost to increasing their sustainability. From considering environmental impact, some have made significant cost savings and productivity gains. For example one business slashed fuel consumption and made a 20% productivity gain by investing in system development and training around effective job scheduling. This virtuous circle also increased technical job satisfaction and reduced insurance premiums.
The final drive is legislation. To get a flavour of the direction of travel, a recent demand from the UN Secretary General of member nations was to:
- Put a price on carbon.
- Phase out fossil fuel finance and end fossil fuel subsidies.
- Shift the tax burden from income to carbon, and from tax payers to polluters.
- Integrate the goal of carbon neutrality (a similar concept to net zero) into all economic and fiscal policies and decisions.
- Help those around the world who are already facing the dire impacts of climate change.
Given that agenda, not getting your head around understanding, measuring and reducing your environmental impacts would appear irresponsible.
For a no obligation chat about your environmental strategy just get in touch.