If you are running a business and would like to improve its level of sustainability, here is a check-list of items to consider:
Values, Mission & Targets
* Create a long-term plan of business operations that are meaningful – reflecting the high-quality, ethical business ideology and strategies to achieve it.
* Outline ideology, targets and transparency on successes and hurdles in achieving these goals over time on a public access CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) page.
* Never ‘GreenWash’ marketing or CSR pages by making claims, stating goals, targets, or strategies that are not actively in effect. Transparency has much greater value to a company’s image of quality than greenwashing.
Building and Grounds
+ Renewable Energy
+ Rainwater catchment system/tanks
+ Green roof: plants and/or gardens on the roof
+ Native plants that enhance local landscape
+ Greywater (reuse water) systems for toilets, washing, gardening
+ Regular monitoring/feedback system of staff needs
+ Training & education schemes (including sustainability training)
+ Equal access to training, promotions, and perks
+ Local hires
+ Gender balance
+ Flexible working hours
+ Paid leave
+ Working schedule parent/caregiver flexibility
+ Staff encouraged to communicate problems & ideas for positive change to upper management without negative consequence.
Customers Aware of the Mission
+ Customers are made aware of the company’s mission and policies upon booking, check-in, or at some point during their interaction with the business.
+ Customers are encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle as well as clearly informed of company’s missions and values.
+ Customers are encouraged to give feedback and then shown how their feedback is acted on in a meaningful way.
Regular Analysis & Adjustments
+ Ongoing assessments of targets, policies, and feedback to inform improvements
+ Regular meetings of management to discuss targets, successes, challenges, and feasibility of reaching targets.
Waste & Resource Management
+ High percentage of locally sourced goods
+ Reusable containers in use wherever possible
+ 100% composting of waste food and kitchen waste into gardens or donated to local agriculture
+ Try to minimize sale of products that include single-use containers (and make targets to reduce use each year)
+ Encourage customers to use their own containers and bags whenever possible.
+ If shopping bags are needed, at the minimum, charge a minimal fee for use of plastic shopping bags. Best to use a reusable variety of shopping bag and encourage customers to reuse.
Community Collaboration & Supply Chain
+ Establish an ongoing dialogue with supply sources to include them in your mission to reduce, reuse and recycle. If your suppliers can change their practices, your businesses can support each other for mutual benefit. If suppliers are unwilling to change, there is a need to look for new suppliers and business partners.
+ Strive to promote other businesses to your customers which are operating at higher levels of sustainability.
This list is a simple checklist to get a conversation started at your business. Many of these ideas may seem impossible at first, but take time to consider them over a few weeks and look for areas of your business that might be possible to improve. Sustainability is not a fixed destination but is a journey that needs to be reexamined and reassessed over time.