Sustainability in the business world is a topic that continues to expand both its reach and popularity over time. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find reliable sources in this giant web of eco-centric initiatives and ideas.
Fortunately, with a bit of guidance and some amazing resources, you can start improving your sustainable practices in no time and see the outstanding results that follow. Below are ten reliable resources to help you improve your sustainable practices starting today.
1. The eGRID
The Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database, or eGRID for short, is a resource that is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and is dedicated to the “environmental characteristics of almost all electric power generated in the United States”.
According to eGrid’s main page, these characteristics include air emissions for nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, as well as emission rates, net generation, resource mix, and many other attributes.
The primary use of their data and resources is measuring carbon footprints, analyzing greenhouse gas registries and inventories, taking note of the latest energy and emission standards, and creating a business model that falls in line with these standards and regulations. Each year, eGRID develops a new strategy and builds it around data collected from the previous year. This is perfect for those looking to learn more about energy and greenhouse gas emissions in industry and society as a whole.
2. Harvard’s Sustainable Business Strategy Course
When it comes to the connection between modern business and sustainability, the bond is clear. However, for those that truly are determined to make the most out of sustainability in the workplace, Harvard’s sustainable business strategy course is the way to go.
In this course, you will learn how to:
- Understand and analyze the business models that drive change
- Communicate the competitive advantages of being a purpose-driven leader to management, leadership, and other key stakeholders
- Examine the broader political and social landscape in which you operate, including the role of government, investors, and customers
- Explore why collective efforts are important and how business can be a catalyst for system-level change
- Determine what you can do in your career to become a purpose-driven leader
The course is run by Harvard University Climate Change Task Force co-chair Rebecca Henderson, and is said to specifically benefit purpose-driven professionals, non-profit organization leaders, and entrepreneurs.
For those looking to take sustainability as seriously as possible in their business connections and endeavors, this course is the perfect resource.
3. Global Changemakers: Real Market Impact of Empowered Consumers
One of the best resources out there for business professionals looking into sustainability methods is white papers. Although many white papers cost money to get copies of, there are some free options which provide incredible resources.
For example, this particular free white paper covers topics such as the impact crowdfunding has on social causes, ethical labeling, and marketing to the modern “empowered consumer.” These topics are extremely important when trying to implement sustainability in business and, for no cost whatsoever, this resource is a great option for any modern business professional.
As powerful as written resources are, there is still something to be said about software with a purpose. For instance, with the Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) software provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), companies can now select cost-effective, environmentally-preferable building products in the blink of an eye for their workplace and other projects outside of the office.
Essentially, BEES measures various aspects of a building material’s process and gives you a comprehensive outline of the environmental sustainability of the product for you to review. This ensures that the products you purchase as a business are as sustainable as possible, making your very infrastructure one that is built upon sustainability.
5. Urban Environmental Program
According to the Urban Environmental Program’s page, “The environmental conditions in urban areas throughout New England and across the country expose residents to significant public health hazards every day from toxics, heavy metals, poor ambient and indoor air quality, and a lack of open and green space. These conditions create cumulative, disproportionate and inequitable health risks to urban residents, especially high risk populations such as children and the elderly...The Urban Environmental Program is dedicated to specifically addressing the magnitude and complexity of urban environmental problems in a way that engages, informs, and responds to local resident needs. The UEP takes an active role in listening to community needs and concerns, identifying projects, and providing resources to implement projects that make measurable improvements in public health and the quality of the urban environment.”
Although this program is solely dedicated to the New England urban areas, the resources they provide, along with the data they compile on the health risks and negative impact a lack of sustainability in urban areas causes, is enough for any business professional to pay attention. With this information, you can begin to see why sustainability is so important and encourage your team to join you in your endeavors as well.
6. Eco Worriers: Global Green Behavior and Market Impact
Yet another incredible and free white paper, the “Eco Worriers” white paper focuses on topics such as identifying the green attributes "eco worriers" are willing to pay more for, examining the environmentally conscious consumer, and analyzing the most important factors to consumers during purchasing decisions.
This white paper seeks to raise awareness about the modern consumer and their connection to green initiatives and sustainability. For this reason, this white paper is perfect for the common business professional that is hoping to get a grasp on the connection between sustainable movements and business practicality as a whole.
7. SustainAbility’s Reports
Nothing is better for a business-minded individual looking into sustainability than a resource that frequently provides multiple other resources for you as well. In the case of SustainAbility’s eco-focused site, their reports page is nothing short of a haven for those looking into sustainability resources.
With reports such as “How do You Engage to Support Sustainable Food Systems?” and “Exploring the Impacts of Shareholder Activism on Sustainability,” this site has a myriad of different sustainability-centric reports for you to review and continues to add new ones each week. This is ideal for those that want to know the bottom line of various sustainability topics in less time to make changes without impacting their daily routines.
8. The Resources Landscape: Vital for Business
This infographic may not seem like much from first glance, but don’t be fooled. This infographic actually discusses multiple resource-based sustainability topics simultaneously, and is constantly changing with the market.
According to the author and creator of The Resources Landscape, “The supply, demand and price of natural resources – be they water, energy, minerals or agricultural commodities – are at the heart of the economy and are a key risk to global economic growth. Natural resources pose an operational and reputational risk for all companies in all sectors. An understanding of the resource landscape and an awareness of the risks and opportunities stemming from natural resources should be top of the business agenda.”
The Resources Landscape is perfect for those looking into the impact resource use has on the environment and trying to determine the best way to reduce resources in their own office space.
9. Clean Energy Programs
The Clean Energy Programs are a series of EPA-funded programs that include renewable energy, energy-efficiency, waste, and transportation. These programs were founded on the principle that energy can be clean and not impact our environment in the near future.
The efforts performed by these programs provide resources for business leaders, including data about energy use, waste, and transportation. With this information, businesses can determine what elements of their own business to improve upon.
10. The Double A Blog
Lastly, one of the greatest resources for sustainability is still the Double A blog in its entirety. The Double A blog is dedicated to providing in-depth sustainability topics targeted towards business professionals to help increase the use of sustainable solutions in the workplace and beyond.
With an entire environmental sustainability page, along with two subcategories for the blog that cover home and office insights as well as business partner solutions, Double A offers countless sustainability resources for the business professional and continues to expand upon its resources each and every day.
In the end, sustainability resources are as abundant as the topic they cover is successful. All it takes to find the right ones for you is a bit of time, a dedication to the idea, and a passion to make the world a better place one company at a time.