At Cellugy, we work hard to create more sustainable solutions. We care for the environment and we always cheer for companies that - like us - try to follow a sustainable strategy. Based on this, we give you 5 tips on how your company can work with sustainability. They should not be seen as the ultimate guide to a sustainable company, but we hope to inspire and give perspective on the topic.
When creating a sustainable strategy for your business, it can be challenging to decide what your company can (and cannot) do to become more sustainable. Here, the UN Sustainable Development Goals can serve as a guideline or as inspiration. The 17 SDGs recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forest.
It's obvious that your company can't work with all SDGs at once. Instead, you can choose 3-5 SDGs that you want to commit to. It’s important that you choose SDGs that you find relevant for your company, and that you know how to work with them; it’s better to choose few SDGs that you actually work with rather than choosing many that you are less committed to. By communicating how you commit to the specific SDGs, they can serve as blueprints for your sustainable strategy.
It may seem obvious, but if you want to work with sustainability, you need to consider your supply chain. It’s estimated that supply chains cause 90% of companies’ environmental impacts, because it encompasses so many components of your business; suppliers, manufacturers, packaging, shipping etc.
Of course, companies cannot control their stakeholders (or how they choose to work with sustainability), but they can control who they choose to work with, which materials they use, and how their products are being produced. Companies often choose less sustainable suppliers, as they can be cheaper, however, 70% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods.
Sustainable innovation involves making changes to your company’s products, services, or processes to generate long-term social and environmental benefits while creating economic profits. Sustainable innovations can vary from being small changes – like minimizing use of paper by choosing online solutions for communication – to bigger changes like making your product more sustainable.
So why should your company spend time innovating?
There are many reasons for this: firstly, it makes it easier for your company to attract new employees, as 49% of millennials and Gen Z’s say that their personal ethics have played a role in their career choices. Secondly, companies involved in sustainable innovation think more broadly and learn from different perspectives. This also makes them more resilient to changes, which is important in a turbulent world.
Creating a sustainable culture starts by involving sustainability in your company’s strategic management process – such as mission and value statements, goals, and overall strategy.
However, it’s crucial that employees are involved in establishing a common ground on sustainability, as they are the core of the company’s culture. This can be done by engaging and supporting them into thinking sustainably in relation to their work, but it can also be done by leading by example. Introducing more sustainable options like allowing employees to work from home, travel less (in relation to business activities), or even just sorting waste in your company building can help shape the idea that your company has a sustainable culture, which can ultimately shape a common ground.
When you communicate about sustainability, there is a risk of conveying false impressions or providing misleading information on how sustainable your company is, which leads to greenwashing. In order to avoid this, it’s crucial that your company is transparent about your sustainable actions (and actions in general).
You should always celebrate and communicate about positive sides of your company, but in your communication, you should be very specific on how your company is sustainable. For example, if you have chosen a more sustainable package-solution for your product, you should avoid sentences like “Our product is now more sustainable”. This would be false, and lead to greenwashing. Instead, you should be specific and only use the term sustainable in relation to the packaging. In order to be transparent, you should also explain why and how the new package is more sustainable.
We hope that our tips can serve as inspiration on how your company can work with sustainability. If you wish to read about how Cellugy works with sustainability, we recommend that you read about our product, EcoFLEXY.