Let’s not deny that sustainability is a very “hot topic” at the moment. With companies like Walmart and Facebook trying to dedicate themselves to the effort each and every day, the big question on business owners’ minds right now is simply “What is sustainability all about?”
Whether your goal is to implement sustainability measures into your business or to simply learn more about the topic everyone seems to be talking about, let’s discuss some of the burning questions regarding sustainability and discover just what makes this eco-friendly initiative so vital to the future of business and society as a whole.
1. Is Sustainability Difficult to Accomplish?
The short and simple answer to this is a definitive “no.” Sustainability is a concept that can easily be implemented into every aspect of an individual’s life including the workplace and homestead. Sustainability is truly what you make it and can be as simple as strategically choosing your paper as a company and using less plastic products at home, or as difficult as joining an alternative transportation route for the office and decluttering your entire home for a more minimalist lifestyle.
The key to sustainability as a business, or as an individual, is to find the perfect balance that you are capable of upholding each and every day. Although many people often think that simply doing one or two eco-conscious things in their lives every day is not going to make a difference in the bigger scope of things, they truly will.
In fact, according to Arcadia Power, you can essentially save 1,460 plastic bottles per year by using a reusable bottle, truly proving the power of even the smallest of sustainable actions.
2. Is Being a Sustainable Company Expensive?
The next burning question that many companies are currently dying to know the answer to is whether these sustainable initiatives will be expensive to execute. Fortunately, sustainability in the office space is relatively simple to achieve and not expensive in the slightest.
In fact, since many of the sustainable initiatives out there ask to reduce the usage of things or opt for reusable versions, implementing sustainable elements in the office may actually save you money in the long run.
So, let’s take a look at the cost of several sustainability initiatives currently out there. One of the most common sustainability measures is choosing elements such as sustainable paper, office supplies, and furniture.
Considering that recycled paper actually costs more than sustainable paper, sustainable office supplies actually tend to be reusable (meaning less monthly upkeep expenses), and sustainable furniture is often far more sturdy and longer-lasting, these elements could actually save your business money and make a huge impact on the world in the process.
3. Are Sustainable Methods Better Than Recycling?
Perhaps one of the most common questions people tend to ask when thinking about going towards sustainable initiatives is whether recycling is better or not. The sustainable vs. recycled debate has been around since the start of sustainable efforts in our society. However, the truth is that recycling only cures the “symptoms” of environmental damage while sustainable methods seek to cure the “disease” itself.
Sustainable methods are built upon the understanding that the earth only continues to get worse and recycling these harmful products is not a solution. With this in mind, sustainability seeks to create a future that is brighter and more conscious, in order to avoid making the same mistakes over and over. This is why, more often than not, large organizations choose to be a part of sustainable initiatives and create a brighter future instead of trying to put a proverbial “band-aid” on the present.
4. Is There Business Value in Sustainability Efforts?
Although it’s now clear that you will be saving money by choosing sustainability in the office and home, you may still be wondering if there is business value in sustainability efforts. This question is often asked by business professionals, as balancing out is great but making a profit or seeing actual benefit from these initiatives is even better.
Let’s analyze the actual value associated with sustainability in the workplace. For starters, let’s go over energy efficiency. Although energy efficiency certainly does help the environment greatly, it can also save you money as well.
According to Electric Choice, “Use of CFLs and halogen lights in businesses have increased over the years as a cost-saving measure, while the use of incandescent lights have dropped steadily.” The truth is that using energy-efficient bulbs could save you large sums on each and every bulb and help the environment in the process.
Now, let’s go over the other large aspect of the average office — paper. According to Mashable, “The Average U.S. office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year.” This number may sound drastic—and that’s because it is. Fortunately, with sustainable paper solutions in the office, you can make the most out of your paper, ensure that your prints are high-quality and stand the test of time, and save money on paper usage as better paper means less reprints.
Although these are just two of the sustainable elements currently being used by businesses, their advantages alone, along with the ability to say you are a sustainable business, are more than enough to see great returns in no time.
5. How Do You Get Started with Sustainability in the Office?
After learning all about what it means to be sustainable in your workplace and personal life, you may be wondering how to actually get started. Fortunately, this aspect is entirely up to you. Although there are plenty of helpful tips in this article alone, the way you establish sustainability in the office is up to you.
However, a great start is to get your team together, discuss the idea, and work side by side to come up with the most effective ways for you to be a part of this amazing initiative. By doing this, you can find the best ways to get involved, ensure that your team is onboard, and slowly but surely become more and more sustainable as a business because of it.