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How to Embed Sustainability into Your Business

By 
Keslio Team
6
 minute read  
|  
March 19, 2024
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As we are continuously challenged and pressured by the rising changes in the environment and in society, implementing sustainable practices and preventive measures is relevant to the success and survival of a business. Sustainability starts from within and embedding this into workplace cultures and internal practices can strengthen the initiatives we have set to bring us to a more sustainable future.

Sustainability has such a critical role in the workplace and should no longer be perceived as a simple task to be checked off from a list. It is an integral element in business strategy and workplace culture. At its heart lies the people who bring the business to life. Without an empowered workforce, a business cannot execute its sustainability strategies effortlessly.

By empowering people to work sustainability and by integrating these practices into core operations, a business can thrive across numerous aspects. Sustainability integration is a holistic strategic business decision that encompasses not just the organization but also its environment and the people it impacts. It allows a business to be more resilient to change and it gives them a keener eye that looks further into the future. Embedding sustainability into a business motivates people to steer greater success to the organization by working sustainably for sustainability.

Embedding Sustainability

How can we turn sustainability into a core element of our business? This integration isn’t done overnight. It is a long process that starts from the top and trickles across the entire organization.

1. Starting Strong with Committed Leaders

This journey begins with a strong team of leaders who can guide its people through the road ahead. If business leaders at the top do not believe in sustainability as a driving force towards success, the organization will also find themselves distant from sustainable development. To be sustainable, leaders must believe in the power and value of sustainability. This will lay the groundwork for a healthy, ethical, and sustainable workplace culture that fosters people to establish sustainable practices in their work.

Embedding sustainability also requires a team or a group of experts who can oversee and foster sustainability across the business. This dedicated team will then spearhead the development and the implementation of the organization’s sustainability strategy.

2. Mapping Out the Vision

Now that a team has been built to kickstart the journey, it is time to lay the foundation for sustainable development. First, the organization needs to assess the current state in order to see where they can truly make a difference. By engaging with stakeholders to gain more insights, conducting a materiality assessment to see what matters the most, and determining risks, threats, and opportunities, the team can realize their goals, visions, and action plans towards meaningful change.

Once the team has an understanding of what key areas need improvement and what aspects in the business makes the most impact, a sustainability strategy can then be mapped out. These strategies can drive change into the business. For example, shifting to renewable energy and energy-efficient technology can reduce emissions. Establishing a proper waste recovery and management system can prevent environmental risks and take the business closer to circular practices. Ethical sourcing can not only ensure stakeholders across the value chain are treated fairly but it can also improve due diligence and brand reputation, attracting more investors and customers.Creating a clear vision and establishing a purposeful strategy can transform the business towards a better future.

3. Fostering a Culture of Sustainability

To bring this vision to life, a business will need people. To strengthen this vision, these people should also firmly believe in the vision.

A culture of sustainability ensures that across all operations, teams will put sustainable development into practice. To do this, leaders should empower workers through education, awareness, and training. Empowering workers to be more sustainable means supporting them with the knowledge, resources, skills, and decision-making power essential in implementing sustainable strategies in their roles. Each member of the organization can make an impact and all that is needed is a gentle push further.

Fostering a culture of sustainability entails training and resources that cement sustainability into mind. Teams must first assess the current state of their members and what new skills would they need to not just support the company but also improve their learning experiences and holistic formation within the company. Additionally, skills that tie their operations to sustainable development will be important to implement. To upskill teams, workshops or seminars featuring experts on the topic or on sustainability can be hosted to create engagement and interaction. Online resources and short courses can also be made available to people for them to learn on their own time and look back to when needed.

This learning environment that gives employees the tools and skills needed to be sustainable in their own roles is critical. Employees across departments, functions, and even regions will be able to interact with processes and strategies that can create positive impact beyond the organization.

4. Continuously Improving the Way We Work

No practice or culture is perfect at the beginning. With sustainability evolving and changing alongside the environment and society, improving and adapting to new challenges and needs is essential when embedding sustainability. Reviewing policies regularly and engaging with teams to assess what further needs to be done and what skills can better support operations ensures a responsive and dynamic strategy and workplace.

As we continue to face challenges, empowered leaders can build sustainable strategies that support the workforce and the overarching vision towards sustainable development.

Tips

Embedding sustainability may sound and look easy but this continuous process requires the support of many. Here are a few tips to better strengthen endeavors for sustainable development.

1. Set Clear Goals

Sustainability goals need to be quantifiable, achievable, and significant to the organization. Think of a materiality assessment. Using the information gathered from discovering what impacts the organization and its key stakeholders, a business can establish targets that can make the strongest impact in a fixed time period. Clear goals set the scene and give teams a good vision of where their contributions will take them.

2. Engage Your Employees

Sustainability starts from within. It’s important to engage with employees to keep them motivated and empowered to drive success into the business. By listening to their needs, by getting their perspective on how the business can practice sustainability, a business can strengthen their initiatives and also develop strategies and programs that support the people who keep the business going. Sustainability does not just cover environmental impacts and external stakeholders and communities; it also brings value and importance to the workforce.

3. Establish Transparency

Keeping teams in the loop with current progress builds trust and credibility. Transparency is key when it comes to implementing sustainability as it lets stakeholders know the impact of the business. When it comes to building transparency, it’s good to share both successes and areas for improvement. Sustainability is a long journey that goes through various terrain. Sharing information on where a business is currently heading helps boost awareness and active participation.

4. Utilize Technology

As a company heads into the future, equipping themselves with technology can propel them faster towards their targets. Sustainability drives innovation. From energy-efficient machines to data management systems, a business can enhance their sustainability performance across all functions.

Challenges and Opportunities

Embracing sustainability can be intimidating. It requires changing everyday practices and reshaping current systems to improve the future. Change can be constrained by financial and human resources but this can result in positive long-term effects. Resistance to change may also occur among teams and thus, leaders will need to properly equip their people with the necessary resources and effectively communicate the goals, benefits, and relevance of sustainability. Sustainability is a collaborative effort and to spread it across the organization would require support from different voices. With a successful sustainability program strongly supported and practiced by teams across an organization, a business can further thrive and eventually, separate themselves from competitors within the market and attract more customers and investors keen on supporting sustainable businesses.

Transforming sustainability into a top priority is a step forward in the sustainability journey. Without creating a formidable base to support all the structures, programs, and stakeholders involved in the road towards sustainable development, an organization cannot easily move forward. Through sustainability within the workplace, businesses can become forerunners towards a sustainable and equitable society.

At Keslio, we are deeply passionate about sustainability, equipping us with the expertise and extensive network needed to guide clients through their sustainability journey effectively and efficiently. Our expertise is particularly valuable for companies looking to embed sustainability practices into their businesses and investors looking to integrate ESG and impact into investment portfolios. To learn more about how Keslio can assist your organization on its sustainability journey, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

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