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Sustainability Actions for Your Business

 

Congratulations! Reading this post shows you have a willingness to take meaningful action to make your business more sustainable.


In this guide, we'll give you a menu of sustainability actions to consider implementing into the day to day running of your organisation, grouped into the major categories of travel, procurement, energy, waste, and carbon measurement.


Before selecting your favourites, we recommend setting up a meeting with your team to brainstorm sustainability ideas together.


Step 1. Consult with your team

It's highly likely that the best sustainability ideas for your business are already incubating in house, waiting to be heard and actioned. There will be members of your team who have a deep understanding of how your business operates and will have great ideas on how you could be more sustainable.


Keep in mind though, people can be nervous about bringing up sustainability initiatives, especially if they might require investment or behavioural change to implement. So, when you have this discussion, try to create a safe environment where everyone can share what's on their mind. There are no bad ideas in the brainstorming phase!


There are multiple ways you could run this kind of meeting, but one option is to place all suggested ideas on a visible whiteboard, then ask members of your team to vote for their top 3. What you are looking for is a level of consensus so you can decide which sustainability action(s) to implement first.


If, during the initial brainstorm session the ideas are slow to come to light, you could try suggesting a few from the menu of options below, but keep in mind that when sustainability ideas are championed by your team, they have a far higher chance of succeeding long term.


Once you have a shortlist of your top 3 sustainability actions as voted by your team, you could delegate responsibility to research the implementation options for each one, including investment required, internal systems change needed and how to overcome any possible hurdles.


From there, you'll need to decide as management whether the actions are viable and report back to your team. At the same time, you'll need to create an action plan and appoint an internal champion or committee for each sustainability action moving forward.


Keep all ideas!

It's critical at this stage to keep a record of all ideas generated in the initial brainstorm session. If one of the top 3 actions voted by your team proves to be unviable (perhaps it's too expensive or impractical), then you may like to go down the list and find the next most popular option.


For other ideas that don't make the final shortlist, you will want to keep track of these so you can check back with the team at a later date to see if interest has grown. At the same time, this approach ensures all members of your organisation feel heard and acknowledged, making it clear that you value their input during this process.


 

Sustainability Action Menu

A list of sustainability initiatives you may want to consider. This is by no means an exhaustive list.


Travel

  • Schedule work from home days to save emissions from employee commuting.

  • Adopt an electric hire car policy using a service like MEVO.

  • Improve tele-conference capability. You could encourage your team to have more meetings online, rather than in person by investing in high quality web-cams, microphones, or setting up dedicated 'zoom pods' in your office where your team can chat with added privacy and minimal noise.

  • Offer employer commuting incentives. Reward or incentivise your team to use low-emissions transport modes.

  • Provide secure on-site parking for bicycles.


Waste management

  • Undertake a waste audit to understand the composition of your office waste and see how much it could be reduced or diverted to recycling.

  • Install dedicated recycling bins.

  • Start organic waste collection using a service like Kaicycle in Wellington.

  • Institute a low paper use policy.

  • Improve kitchen facilities to make it easier for employees to prepare food at work or bring lunch from home.


Procurement

  • Review your suppliers. Are more sustainable options available either through your current supplier, or by making a switch?

  • Encourage your existing suppliers to measure their own emissions.

  • Choose planet friendly catering. Ask for low waste, vegan or vegetarian options. Two options in Wellington are Belen and Sweet Release. In Auckland, try The Sustainable Food Co.

  • Switch to a 100% renewable energy power supplier or get renewable energy certificates from BraveTrace.


Carbon measurement

  • Complete a greenhouse gas inventory to understand your current organisational carbon footprint and pinpoint your biggest sources of emissions.

  • Review the Carbon Journey to work out logical next steps.

  • Set an emissions reduction target in line with the Paris Agreement and create a robust emissions reduction plan.

  • Make your sustainability data available using an interactive dashboard. Sharing your sustainability results in a transparent way builds trust with your stakeholders, employees and customers and shows you are prioritising the changes we all need to make to move towards a net-zero world.


Energy

  • Upgrade office lighting. LEDs use up to 85% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.

  • If you manage multiple electricity connections, install a targeting and monitoring energy management system - a proven way to improve energy efficiency which leads to reduced emissions and energy cost savings.

  • Complete at Level 1 Energy Audit. This provides a snapshot of how well your assets and facilities are performing compared to average and best practice guidelines, with the potential savings in kWh and dollars listed in the ensuing report. It is the business case behind taking further action.

  • Create (or review) your energy management plan and set achievable targets for energy efficiency improvement.


Bonus option

  • Explore the Climate Action Toolbox created by the Sustainable Business Network and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.

 

In summary

Implementing change requires courage and a willingness to step into the unknown. A great way to start is by securing a few 'quick wins' to build momentum and confidence. Target small changes that everyone in your organisation can engage with like organic waste collection or sustainable catering for your next event.


Today’s job seekers want work that gives life meaning as well as financial security and Customers are demanding companies demonstrate good social and environmental behaviour. You can show your team and your clients you care about more than just the bottom line by engaging in genuine conversations around sustainability and by embracing opportunities to improve.


Taking action on sustainability makes sense and the benefits can be immense, including improved staff retention, increased customer loyalty and reduced emissions. On top of all that, effective energy management can actually improve profitability through avoided energy costs.





Your Carbon Journey partner

When it comes to specialist areas like greenhouse gas inventories, energy audits, carbon management software and emissions reduction plans, it pays to have experts on your side who can guide you through the process. At CarbonEES®, we can provide bespoke solutions to suit your needs.


To start the process of securing a no-obligation proposal, get in touch with our team today. We can chat about your organisation and provide a quote that is customised to your situation.

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