Sustainability – where is the best place to start?

The topic of sustainability is more present in the media than ever before. Companies, regardless of whether they are industrial, start-up or medium-sized, are obliged to adhere to the newly communicated guidelines within a very short period of time and thus comply with the requirements. For many entrepreneurs, it is precisely these short deadlines that pose a major challenge. So how and where is the best place to start?

As with everything, even the little things can lead to big changes. This blog post is not about big, complex topics like the Digital Product Passport or CO2-neutral production. Small changes and the strengthening of a green corporate culture can already make a big difference in this context.

What is actually meant by sustainability?

Sustainability basically refers to structures that are sustainable indefinitely and have sufficient resources for the future. To the question of when a company is sustainable or whether there are companies that are already sustainable, the answer would therefore have to be no. According to this approach, one would hardly find sustainable companies.

Sustainability starts in many areas – ecological, economic and social. The sustainability triangle describes the interrelationship of these three dimensions. Economic growth opportunities, ecological aspects and social justice should always be considered and weighed up when acting and making decisions.

Companies are often described as sustainable if they establish new business models that promote sustainability compared to conventional facilities. A sustainable focus can be beneficial in many ways: increasing efficiency, corporate image, employee satisfaction and recruiting young employees.

There are simple tips and tricks you can use to take a step toward sustainability today:

1. waste separation and recycling

Those who do not yet separate garbage should start now. Waste separation is the simplest and quickest step towards sustainability. The infrastructures for waste separation, such as different colored trash cans, must be created. In addition, initial approaches to recycling can be considered. Which waste products can possibly be reused in your own company? What scraps can be passed on to others?

2. mobility

In the context of mobility, a lot can be done for companies. Offers such as the job bike and tickets for local public transport can be established quickly and easily and lead to employees being able to do without their cars, at least for the most part.
Since there are currently still few charging points for electric cars, setting up charging stations would be another good impetus for people to get involved with the topic of e-cars. Some member companies in the East Side Fab, such as IANEO, already enable their employees to charge their cars free of charge using the electricity produced by the solar plant.

3. save energy and emissions

Nowadays, there are already many intelligent technical solutions that simplify energy saving, such as presence sensors, intelligent heating solutions, etc. The aim is to reduce heating costs and electricity costs for lighting and cooling systems intelligently so that work is not impaired. The aim here is to intelligently reduce heating costs and electricity costs for lighting and cooling systems using the appropriate sensor technology, so that work is not impaired. In addition, there are already different ways to offset emissions.
New working environments such as home offices and remote work also mean that energy can be saved. This includes reducing business travel to a minimum.

4. sustainable purchasing

Especially in purchasing, attention should be paid to sustainable producers, products, packaging and shipping. There are already many practical solutions in this area.

5. commitment regarding nature and climate

Actions such as planting trees, acquiring houseplants or establishing a garden not only ensure a better climate, but also contribute to the well-being and satisfaction of the employees. Another option is an offer of  activities in nature. This year, for example, our member Villeroy & Boch created workspaces in the countryside for the first time, making it possible to work outdoors.
In addition, smaller things like insect hotels, birdhouses, watering troughs, etc. can be set up quickly and easily and contribute to a better climate.

6. reward employee commitment

To create a green corporate culture, it is effective to reward employee engagement. If employees are committed to sustainability in their private and professional lives, added value and incentives should be created. These could be, for example, bonus payments, additional vacation days. Also, there are no limits to creativity .

At the end of the day, there are many simple and quick-to-implement options that companies should definitely address. Especially as a company, you have significant access and leverage to increase people’s sustainable awareness. Measures that are easy to implement are the first steps towards a sustainable company . The resulting added value is enormous and satisfying for all involved.

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