Get on board with sustainability in 2024 (and enjoy it)
In a world increasingly focused on sustainability, it's time to embrace the positive changes that come with it. Sustainability is a word with a myriad of connotations. It's about climate change solutions, eco-friendly products, reducing plastic usage, recycling, upcycling, ethical fashion, and so much more. At its core, sustainability means thinking long-term. It's about achieving lasting success by equally prioritising people, the planet, and profit. Imagine three interconnected circles representing these facets of sustainability – a delicate balance that we must strive to maintain.
Often, sustainability discussions heavily emphasise the planet, sometimes overshadowing the "people" aspect. However, here at Brevity Certified B Corporation™, we believe if people embrace kindness, we'll naturally foster support for our planet.
Let's illustrate this with two business scenarios:
Meet Chris. Chris’ IT company focuses solely on maximising profits. They force suppliers into tight margins, pay low salaries, and dispose of legacy hardware without considering its impact. Their vision? Luxury lifestyle for Chris.
Alternatively, meet Dee who also runs an IT company. Dee's business thrives due to its ethical approach. They value employees, recycle efficiently, and support marginalised groups through donations of IT hardware and software. Dee’s vision? Using their success for the greater good.
In simple terms:
Mercenaries, like Chris, are driven by profit alone, often at the expense of ethics
Missionaries, like Dee, seek to contribute positively to society and the environment through their business and giving time to good causes
So, here are five alternative ways your organisation can embrace sustainability – the ‘Dee’ way - for a brighter future.
1. Make the mindset shift
Start your sustainability journey by adopting the mindset of a missionary business leader, not a mercenary. Sustainable brands strike a balance between people, planet, and profit. Understanding your leadership style through a DISC personality profile assessment or similar is a good place to start.
2. Set authentic company values
The power of three – three core values – is a sweet spot. These values become the foundation of your culture, service, product, and communications. They lead to behaviours, which drive culture, and in turn, influence communications, service, and product development.
Here's an exercise to complete:
Gather your team and all write down words that represent your business on separate post-it notes
Group similar words together – the best word at the top of the pile
Place your final selection of words into three separate categories of Process (how you do stuff), Reputation (how people see you), and Personality (who you are). Together, select one word from each category that resonates most with you and your team.
If the words aren’t quite right, use a thesaurus to find a better word with a closer meaning
Finally, develop a snappy statement for each of the three words in your final selection which instantly describes in a bit more detail what that word means to you. These statements should be written for an audience that includes ALL your stakeholders – customers, employees, and suppliers
5. Understand how to reduce carbon usage
There are many tools out there to help you, and currently Small 99 is offering access to their tool for free. Ideal for any SME who wishes to understand how they can reduce carbon within their business.
4. Create an employee sustainability challenge
Engage your employees in a 12-month sustainability challenge. Foster a culture of conscious decision-making. Stop by our stand or come to our presentation and you’ll get access to Brevity’s 12-month employee sustainability challenge plan.
Join ‘People, Planet, Pint’
Become part of local sustainability groups and events like ‘People, Planet, Pint’. Network with like-minded individuals and share your sustainability journey. Join Brevity on stand SO6 for a live People Planet Pint event. Or register for an event near you.Business sustainability is not just a trend; it's a long-term commitment. We've covered five easy ways to start integrating sustainability into your SME business. For more sustainability ideas and inspiration visit Brevity’s stand (S06) in the Sustainability Zone at the Great British Business Show or come and listen to Brevity’s Director Kaia Vincent speak about getting on board with sustainability – 22nd November @ 12.30pm in the Sustainability Zone.