Evolving your business sustainability plan
If you’ve been a regular reader of this series on business sustainability, you’ve learned how developing your sustainability strategy can benefit your business. As you progress through your plans and work towards your goals, keep in mind that running a sustainable business is a living, evolving process that has the potential to influence, challenge and inspire others.
Keep up with changing needs and technology
Once your sustainability plan has been in place for a while, take some time to update your carbon footprint measurements, review the projects you’ve implemented and celebrate your successes. As circumstances change in your area, whether it’s increased industrial development, changing availability of materials and services, or amendments in legislation, adapt your sustainability plan to keep moving towards your goals.
Discover what other businesses are doing and see if you can apply their knowledge. How are other companies challenging established ideas in favour of more sustainable methods? Keep reading the Business Sustainability section of the Globe and Mail to find out how others are working their sustainability plans and innovating to meet their goals. Other excellent resources are the Network for Business Sustainability and CanmetENERGY, organizations that provide access to the latest research in business sustainability and put you in touch with the experts.
Look for government support
Another benefit to adopting sustainable practices is the opportunity to enjoy incentives from the federal government. Environment Canada and the ecoACTION program provide a number of incentives and rebates to individuals and businesses promoting environmental sustainability in Canada
Encourage tomorrow’s leaders
In September 2009, The Co-operators hosted Impact! The Co-operators Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership. This conference brought together an outstanding group of 180 Canadian students and experts representing business, academia and non-governmental organizations to develop real sustainability solutions for their campuses, communities and future workplaces. Among the many highlights, keynote speaker David Suzuki focussed on the importance of reconnecting with nature, and the realities of our overwhelming reliance on the Earth.
This event not only reinforced The Co-operators commitment to sustainability, but also empowered future leaders to take action. As a leader in your community, you can set an example for your present and future customers, staff, suppliers and competition by making a firm commitment to sustainability as an integral part of your corporate culture and brand.
No matter what size your business, it is possible to reach your financial goals and serve your customers while minimizing your impact on natural systems and maximizing the social good you generate; in fact, it’s critical. Your challenge is to balance your triple bottom line in the ways that make the most sense for you. The reward? A company that people are proud to align themselves with, and a successful business they can rely on in the future.