This is in response to the entire tree hugging mockery. To those who won’t invest in sustainable practices or simply make recycling, reducing, and reusing a daily routine because it is a waste of time. And time is money. But let’s consider another argument rarely made on behalf of greenery. One that appeals to all capitalists: It makes business sense.
At the 50,000-Foot Level
The Sustainability Initiative, comprising the MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), surveys business leaders to create an annual report on The Business of Sustainability. It provides testimony of the few companies—GE and NIKE among others― that consider sustainability as a key component of their strategy and who utilize it as a source of competitive advantage.
Overall, the valuation framework is the coolest part of the report. You can use this to develop a business case of how your small business will create, leverage, and measure sustainable investments.
Don’t Forget About the Little Things
1. Avoid using styrofoam cups!
Styrofoam contains 57 known chemical by-products that pollute the air and ecosystems, is made with the non-sustainable resource petroleum, and takes nearly 500 years to completely dissolve. In addition, the base ingredient Styrene is a possible human carcinogen. Instead, kill two birds with one stone by investing in branded water bottles that employees and visitors can take home with them. Purchasing reusable bottles can also save you $$ in the long run.
2. Turn everything off!
Empower yourself and employees to turn off all lights and electronics when they aren’t needed. This can shave hundreds and even thousands of dollars off your business’ annual electric tab. Use common sense just as you would at home.
3. Get involved!
Your local communities host environmental events all-the-time and local governments are doing their best to bring like-minded companies together to promote sustainable practices. Find these events and groups, then develop some fulfilling synergies. Not a big business? This is a great chance for you to network and harness the big guys’ secrets in your program development.
Sustainability (n.) [suh-steyn-uh-bil-i-tee]
The commonly-accepted definition of sustainability is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This is a poignant definition and reflects what I believe is difficult to refute—we ought to make strides to slow the degradation of our planet so our children can live a more fulfilling life.
Do you have a sustainability business case? Share with us what you are doing in the present or what you foresee to be needs of future generations.