Customers want to know how companies are performing when it comes to their sustainable goals. Not only does a company’s sustainability strategies indicate their commitment to the environment, but it’s also become a necessary part of corporate responsibility, driven by some of the largest enterprises in the world. More and more, people want to know what sets one organization apart from their peers. For companies wondering how to achieve sustainable competitive advantage, it’s time to reassess their strategies and determine how effective their initiatives are.
Corporate responsibility goes beyond ethical business practices. Managing a sustainable business isn’t just about reducing waste and responsible sourcing; it requires companies to take a holistic view of all their business operations. Wherever a new opportunity arises, they’ll need to adapt their sustainability strategies accordingly.
4 Steps to Assess a Company’s Sustainable Initiatives
It’s always good to conduct a periodic review of a company’s business processes. Similarly, the company will need to assess their sustainability strategies in order to align them with the latest solutions and corporate trends. Companies need to evaluate their current practices using a phased approach.
1. Record and Evaluate Existing Sustainable Practices
Before the company can make improvements, they’ll need to know what sustainable practices they implemented previously. During this phase, they can also request feedback from employees and departments involved in their sustainable goals.
2. Understand Current Resource Consumption
During this phase, the company needs to identify how much resources they consume during their daily operations. This should include measuring their use of electricity over the last period (up to six months) and monitoring their printing operations.
3. Calculate the Company’s Impact
Companies can then calculate their impact using an online service like CoolClimate or CarbonFund. These sites will help them to understand their current footprint based on their total consumption over a given period.
4. Identify Areas for Improvement and Implement New Sustainable Strategies
Based on the outcomes from the first three phases, the company can now identify areas where they may be lacking and implement new strategies to improve their sustainable practices. This may include investing in more energy-efficient devices or adjusting their supply chain to reduce their burden on the environment.
Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage
Corporate responsibility and business sustainability rely on three main pillars. For organizations that want to implement new practices and gain a sustainable competitive advantage, they should consider these pillars while formulating their strategies.
- Environmental Pillar – This usually gets the most attention from organizations and generally focuses on the company’s overall carbon footprint.
- Social Pillar – By involving both employees and the community where the company operates, they can ensure they have the necessary buy-in from their stakeholders for their sustainability initiatives.
- Economic Pillar – Remaining profitable while implementing a sustainable, environmentally friendly business model will be vital for the organization. Considering the economic viability of a strategy will reduce the likelihood of implementing measures that may be too extreme to succeed.
Evaluating proposed strategies and initiatives with these three pillars in mind will help the company to develop a sustainability plan that serves both the environment and their business interests. Organizations should also investigate the sustainable practices their competitors and peers implemented and should replicate their strategies.
How Ikea Used Sustainability to Become an Industry Leader
Ikea adopted sustainable business practices more than fifty years ago. This didn’t just help the company to become a market leader in sustainability but also allowed them to corner a large portion of the furniture market. Ikea uses sustainable sourcing and democratic design to provide the best products to its customers while also reducing their impact on the environment.
The company also cut out the unnecessary waste in their supply chain by letting customers assemble their own furniture. While this was a novel approach to buying furniture fifty years ago, it’s helped the organization reduce costs and corner a global market position in the furniture industry. Since the company started, they’ve continually pushed the limit by assessing their impact on the environment and implementing new sustainable practices to improve their business operations.
Areas that Create the Most Waste in Today’s Businesses
One of the notable areas where a company can start to reduce waste is by tracking their printing operations. It’s common for companies not to monitor how much printing they do every day. Both the number of prints and the devices the company uses can lead to waste in the office.
To regain control over their printing operations, companies should look to adopting Managed Print Services (MPS). This will ensure they have complete oversight while also partnering with another company that places sustainability at the top of their agenda. Cartridge World can help companies to understand their printing practices, participate in sustainability programs, and reduce waste from their operations.
To discuss your company’s current printing requirements, and develop sustainability strategies that suit your needs, speak to one of Cartridge World’s agents today.