Let’s face it; being sustainable in the business industry is slowly becoming the status quo — but why? The truth is that sustainability in the office space has countless positive benefits and, by getting to know them more personally, you can create a fully fleshed-out plan for sustainability in your business in no time.
Below are just some of the reasons why your office should invest in sustainability as soon as possible. Although there are even more reasons than this, perhaps these will help you see why sustainability and business truly go hand in hand in our modern society.
1. The Positive Environmental Impact is Tremendous
Considering that this is all too often the first thing that pops into people’s minds when discussing sustainability in business, let’s analyze the positive environmental impact sustainable initiatives have on our world.
Since the main goal of sustainability is not to remove an item entirely, but to rethink the way it is done, the big thing that sustainability does for the environment is provide it with an alternative that is more likely to be utilized than some of the more drastic options before it.
For instance, in the past, getting rid of cars and switching to riding bikes was a big concept that many people hoped would catch on. However, with current sustainability ideas, turning from cars to far less harmful transportation methods, helping our air quality, and reducing our dependence on oil significantly, are far more possible.
This same concept can be applied to several industries, from plant-based plastic and sustainable paper manufacturing to food and waste management. It makes a clear and strong case as to why sustainability is the future of our society and the way we handle our major problems.
2. Your Community Will Thank You
Another major reason to invest in sustainability in the office space is the community response and impact. With the modern consumer often opting for more eco-conscious company models and products, sustainable companies are starting to see significant positive outcomes from their actions in their local communities.
For instance, many communities now seek out the most sustainable companies and honor them for their actions, which is great for public relations and employee acquisition. Imagine being able to use this as a means to acquire new clients, as well as employees. Think about the many benefits of being known in a positive way in your local community. These factors alone are more than enough to encourage a company to switch to sustainable methods today.
3. You Can Take Part in Several Sustainability Competitions
Considering that modern society now embraces sustainability and those that take part in it, there are several sustainability competitions worldwide, as well as many that are also involved in local communities which your company can participate in for awards, incentives, and promotions.
A good example of this at a local scale is the May in Motion program in one of the most bike-centric cities in America - Boise, Idaho. This yearly event encourages companies to choose alternative transportation methods for the entire month of May in hopes of being the most active in their area. The company that wins receives an award, free advertisement from the organization, a spot in the local newspaper, and multiple rewards for the entire company and the best-performing team members.
Although this may be just one competition in one state, competitions of this kind are found all over the globe, providing businesses with a chance to stand out from the crowd and boast their passion for the environment in doing so.
4. The Modern Consumer Respects Sustainable Business
According to Unilever, “A new international study by Unilever reveals that a third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.” Similarly, according to Inc, 73% of millennials are willing to spend more on products if they boast sustainability.
With this said, sustainability is highly important to the modern consumer–so much so that they’re even willing to pay more to get it. With this said, being a sustainable company may actually increase your profits and encourage more people to promote your brand.
5. Your Office Will Have Less Waste
The next big bonus to having a sustainable office space is the lack of waste your office will accrue. According to the EPA, the average person creates 4.40 pounds of waste each day.
At this rate, a company consisting of thirty people is looking at 132 pounds of waste in a single day’s time. This waste only continues to add up each day, and weighs down on both the landfill it resides in as well as your conscience as a thoughtful business leader.
However, with sustainability in the office, you can avoid this entirely and reduce your daily waste more and more each day until you are hardly wasting anything at all.
6. Helping the Environment Increases Happiness
Although helping the environment certainly makes Earth happy, did you know it could also make you happy? According to Psychology Today, “Our connection to nature also correlated with most measures of human well-being, indicating it may play an extremely important role in maintaining positive mental health.”
This means that helping the environment and incorporating nature into our everyday lives actually has a positive effect on our mental health and encourages feeling of happiness and contentment inside ourselves.
7. You Can Save Money on Energy Usage
According to Zacks, “The average CFL bulb has a much longer lifespan than an incandescent light bulb. Bulbs that are energy star certified last at least six times as long as a traditional incandescent lamp. At today’s average electricity rates, you can expect a CFL bulb to save you about $40 in energy savings before it burns out, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They also produce 75 percent less heat, which can reduce cooling costs in homes as well.”
Since most companies are opting for energy-efficient lighting throughout their office space, simply doing this could save you money on electricity and bulb replacement, as well as air conditioning, which is a pretty good reason to opt for energy efficiency starting now.
8. Company Events Don’t Have to Be Extravagant Anymore
Although this may not be something that initially comes to mind when discussing the benefits of sustainability in business, it is most certainly an added bonus. Because sustainability will soon become a major part of your company’s image, company events can focus more on the community, the environment, and your sustainability efforts, rather than massive banquets, events, or giveaways.
Not only will this help your community and society as a whole, but it will also save you money, which is an enticing aspect to consider.
9. Company Culture Will Be Enriched Significantly
Many companies have started to build their company culture around sustainability and see the positive results that come along with it. In fact, according to Forbes, sustainability and volunteer work is one of the best ways to build a positive company culture.
Simply by incorporating sustainability into your business model, and encouraging your team to get involved as well, you can create a positive culture that is centered around your efforts and has a passion for what they do with your business.
10. Employee Retention Is Sure to Increase
Since company culture is a huge part of employee retention, having a positive culture that is focused on positive goals such as sustainability and community eco efforts is a terrific way to keep employees by your side.
According to Dana Case, Director of Operations at MyCorporation, “I believe that many great employees will choose to leave a company or quit their job because of the company’s culture. Often, there will be signs that the company culture is toxic up front, such as a revolving turnover rate, employees not knowing their bosses (or even other coworkers) all that well, and the overall energy is negative. Great employees will know that there are other companies out there they can go to where this will not be a problem and where their ideas and roles will be respected and valued.”
Having a great company culture encourages people to stick by your side, creating an employee retention rate that is something to be proud of.
11. Sustainable Offices Encourage Productivity
Since nature, volunteer work, and company culture all make you happy, a sustainable work environment is sure to increase productivity as well. According to Fortune, “A new study says it has concrete evidence that happier employees are more productive in the workplace...The experiment showed that productivity increased by an average of 12%, and reached as high as 20% above the control group. By way of comparison, Dr. Daniel Sgroi, the author of the report, noted that in regards to GDP and economic growth, ‘rises of 3% or so are considered very large.’”
With this being said, investing in sustainability in the office may actually boost your employees’ productivity as well.
12. You Will Surely Attract More Long-Term Employees
Just as you will be able to keep the employees you currently have longer, the average passionate and eco-conscious individual is one looking for a home away from home in the workplace.
With this being said, finding a sustainable office space that encourages green initiatives will lead to more new hires that intend on staying for the long haul, rather than employees looking for temporary or secondary job opportunities.
13. There Are Multiple Team Building Opportunities
According to TINYpulse, “By combining volunteering with coworkers, you’ll develop stronger relationships in the workplace. Extensive research shows that when employees come together to help others, they help themselves by developing strong work relationships. The value of coworkers volunteering together can’t be [overstated].”
The impact volunteer work can have on your team is tremendous, and the comradery that comes from it may actually help your team to grow together and work better in the workplace as well.
14. Employee Incentives Can Be Less Expensive
In most companies, employee incentives consist of swag, tickets to a movie, or vacations and trips. However, when your team is founded on sustainable ideals, your incentives can transform into volunteer opportunities, reusable items, and more sustainable products for the office to expand your initiative even further.
In many cases, when a team feels like they are part of something, they are more willing to forego personal gifts for the greater good, which means you can actually save money and help the environment in the process.
15. You Can Rest Assured Knowing Your Company Is Making the World a Better Place
Lastly, although it may sound corny, you want to know your company is moving in a positive direction and making a dent in the world in some small way.
Perhaps the most incredible thing that investing in sustainability in the office can do for you is assure you that your company is making the world a better place one small step at a time. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day—but the impact it had on our world will be remembered forever.