Promoting a sustainable business environment

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change today issued its latest and most detailed assessment of climate change impact to date, which draws damning conclusions about the potentially ‘catastrophic’ effects of inaction.

Businesses need to assess their sustainability credentials as part of a global mission to address climate change before it is too late. As Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA said in his recent TED talk: “Sustainability has gone from a nice-to-do to a must-do”.

Yet, while many organisations have viewed sustainability assessment as a cost, it is key positive PR campaign in the waiting.

Going green, going big

Standing out from the competition is imperative to growth and success. However, few people consider how the environmental credentials of their business can achieve this, or the potential financial savings that can come with it.

Gaining an ISO 14001 accreditation, demonstrating corporate social responsibilities and promoting positive work ethics are no longer the reserve of eco-friendly businesses, they are vital aspects in winning business. Those who don’t commit to this now will lose out very quickly. This is as important for PR firms as it is for their clients.

While reviewing the sustainability of working practices, technology and workplaces may bring an initial cost, the potential savings are vast and will bring profitability.

Energy saving lighting, recycling rainwater, reducing the energy consumption of IT systems, and minimising work travel or promoting the use of public transport are all key factors that could cut carbon emissions and expenditure by as much as 70%. Act now to showcase your expertise and dedication to promoting sustainability – this is a great story that people will be interested in as part of an integrated campaign.

Top tips:

  1. Reduce energy consumption – Energy falls into three key categories; heating, lighting and cooling. Encourage employees to turn off lights, power down equipment at the end of the day and only use heating/cooling when essential. Investing in more efficient IT equipment or assessing where you house servers to reduce cooling expenses can also provide major benefits
  2. Minimise water waste – Office buildings use an average of more than 1,200 gallons of water per day, but a leaking sink or toilet can add 200 gallons to this figure. Rainwater recycling systems are a minimal cost for a considerable gain, as are plumbing surveys that could identify costly leaks
  3. Reduce printing – Requesting that staff and clients think before printing will dramatically reduce ink and paper costs. Promote paper recycling and sign up to recycle printer cartridges to further minimise environmental impact
  4. Carpooling – Encouraging employees to carpool will reduce the number of business miles covered, reducing carbon emissions and saving you money on expenses
  5. Education & incentives – Teach your staff and clients about how to reduce waste. This will show that you care and promote health competition for the betterment of the environment and your bottom line. Getting buy-in is key and the difference between successful sustainability and missing your goals

Further reading:

Steve Howard’s TED Global 2013 presentation (TED) 

IPPC Climate Change 2014 Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability report (The Independent)



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