How to Develop a Sustainability Plan for Your Business

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In recent years, an increasing number of businesses have started to embrace sustainability. What was once an obscure business principle now lies at the core of any business strategy. More importantly, end consumers are more conscious than ever about their product choices, prioritizing eco-friendly goods over ones manufactured through unsustainable means.

There’s little doubt that sustainability is the future, and creating a concrete action plan to achieve it puts your business in an excellent position to succeed and grow. Here’s how to do it.

1. Focus on the intangible benefits of sustainability

Any kind of business can be greener. The problem is it can be difficult to start taking the necessary steps toward building a green business if you don’t have a real understanding of its intangible benefits.

Rather than focusing on manufacturing costs and profitability alone, it pays to look at how sustainability can impact the other aspects of your business, such as brand value, competitive advantage, and positive feedback from potential customers. These intangible benefits can hold the key to finally moving to more sustainable business models.

2. Define what sustainability means to your business

It’s easy to claim that your business embraces sustainability, but proving it is a whole different story. You need to provide context to your potential customers, identify the problem at hand, and show how you’re solving it in a way that resonates with them.

A case in point is Bamboo Underwear, a clothing brand dedicated to creating comfortable underwear using natural and environment-friendly fabrics. Their material of choice is bamboo viscose, which comes from dissolving wood pulp.

Bamboo is a more sustainable choice compared to cotton as it grows fast even without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Not to mention, bamboo viscose is softer, more durable, and more breathable than cotton, making it an excellent option for making comfortable underwear.

3. Let your workforce contribute

Sustainability isn’t limited to the manufacturing process. It’s a pervasive idea that everyone in your company needs to understand and put into practice. Engage your workforce and make sure to provide them with a way to contribute toward building a more sustainable business.

For instance, you can initiate a sustainability program that focuses on recycling and reducing your footprint. Even inconspicuously small things, such as prioritizing digitalization to avoid unnecessary printing costs and encouraging the use of reusable water bottles, can help immensely in fostering a greener business.

4. Measure your sustainability performance

It’s difficult to measure the real impact of your sustainability programs, especially if you only look at short-term ROI. After all, it’s nearly impossible to say that a certain initiative directly results in an increase in profits and customer retention.

However, you can start with something much simpler, such as measuring customer feedback about your sustainable business practices. For example, you can monitor user comments on social media and use this information to improve your programs.

But when it comes to sustainability performance, focusing on the long-term is always best. Try looking at the larger picture and you’ll almost certainly have an easier time seeing the far-reaching benefits of your sustainability initiatives.

The numbers don’t lie, as evidenced by the growing number of companies that perform better than ever after investing in stronger environmental, social, and governance criteria.

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