22Sustainability is one of the last things a small business would think of with the numerous activities and things to bother about in the business. However, you can invest in sustainability programs despite your limited resources. The founder of Trade Show Emporium, Willis Wood, said people generally believe that it costs a lot of money to achieve sustainability in business. I went through the challenge of wanting to provide trade show exhibits with environmentally friendly features, he said. At the onset such trade show exhibit was pricier than the traditional one. However, we were able to obtain a green exhibit of the same price with traditional exhibit after working with manufacturers to reduce the price.
Businesses need to take a long term approach when considering how to make up for sustainability strategy. Such long term approach includes focusing on the big picture, noting the business priorities and also incorporating flexibility measures.
Begin with a robust framework
It is important to treat sustainability like any other priority in business. This involves having an realistic metrics that can be measured in consideration of the return on investment of the company.
The Leader of US Sustainability Business Solutions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kathy Nieland, suggests that incorporating persistency and having a clear focus are important for sustainability to be achieved. She pointed out that sustainability is a very broad field and also distraction can easily result.
To achieve success, she recommends that you should focus your mind on larger-scale initiatives. She stated that sustainability is a rapidly widening field, moving from simple activities to complex ones.
Make integration a Priority
To achieve effectiveness, you need to work sustainability into the core strategies of your business. In other words, you should begin with executive discussion at the top of the ladder and making sure that the priorities get down to the grass root.
Willis Wood stated that the basic foundation to sustainability is beginning with a vision. He said that he realized the immense impact trade show industry had on the environment after being in the industry for a couple of years. However, Wood maintained his dedication to his original goal but however moving his businesses into a more sustainable and recyclable one.
You have to think beyond what is in front of you. Sustainability changes have wider implications and it is important to evaluate the economic, environmental and social impact of the changes. For example, Trade Show Emporium, Wood’s company, helps vendors to recycle their old trade show exhibits and hence ensuring that the landfills are not filled up and thereby taking their business a notch higher.
Three steps to become profitable
According to a current Harvard Business Review article, companies will basically take these three steps to make sustainability profitable.
- Begin with a more expensive investment to produce lower yield in the long term.
- Build sustainable approaches with small changes that save lots of money and then use the outcome to finance bigger initiatives.
- Communicate sustainability efforts with suppliers and customers in order to develop new and unique business models.
You can organize a company meeting in order to discuss and deliberate on the measures to leverage in bringing in sustainability into your business enterprise, Wood explains. He also suggests that you should vote on the five most important objectives for achieving sustainability in the business. After doing this, you can set a date as a targeted goal and time frame for every objective you have listed to ensure that each one of them will be achieved as fast as possible at the stated time frame.