Workplace Sustainability: The Win-Win Strategy For Business Success

Workplace Sustainability: The Win-Win Strategy For Business Success

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/wework/?hl=en

With business-wide sustainability practices becoming increasingly more prevalent, it’s a trend which we as a company are enthusiastically cheering on and doing everything we can to promote this heightened interest in the topic.

We recently hosted an informative panel discussion about the ways in which business-wide sustainability practices can boost business success. We chatted to Carmel Mcquaid, the Head of Sustainable Business at M&S, Daniel Murray, Principal Consultant at Carbon Smart and Kaushal Shah, Founder and CEO of evoPAP. As we came away from the event armed with inciteful knowledge about green practices in the workplace, we made sure we jotted down some of our top quotes from the night that we believe every business can benefit from:

 

The rise of corporate sustainability

 

“In the last few years, there has been a shift from scepticism to enthusiasm” 

Daniel Murray, Carbon Smart

Now is a time to be excited about, we are starting to witness an accelerating interest around the importance of corporate sustainable practices. As one company showcases an innovative sustainable solution, other businesses are quickly jumping on the bandwagon. At an investor level, we have seen increased interest in companies who are pioneering climate change initiatives and displaying eco-friendly practices, encouraging more businesses to open their eyes to the importance of sustainable strategies.

 

“At boardroom level, we’re seeing far more interest in what sustainability means for the organisation. It is starting to be viewed as an opportunity rather than a risk that needs to be addressed”

Daniel Murray, Carbon Smart

Financial profitability will always be the key driving factor for many businesses worldwide. But as we begin to see moves towards sustainability actually positively impacting a business’s bottom line, we hope this will act as a catalyst for real change across the board.

 

“Gradually, larger companies are starting to think how can they change – this then allows smaller companies to start making the change and creating solutions”

Kaushal Shah, envoPAP

With this shift in attitude, startups have a growing voice, we have a chance to harness this opportunity and start to be the driving forces behind how larger corporations operate. More and more we are witnessing start-up unicorns disrupting the market and providing innovative solutions to the growing issue of sustainability.

 

Smaller businesses are driving disruptive innovation forward

 

“There’s a lot to be said about disruptive startups in this industry”

Carmel Mcquaid, M&S

 

Often startups with an inspirational sustainability agenda are the ones who nudge those larger corporations to join the movement. WeWork is a great example of this. With sustainability at the core of what they stand for, WeWork has paved the way for efficient, sustainable office working strategies. It sometimes just takes one smaller company with a disruptive idea to drive wider changes across industries. 

 

“We’re always cheerleading the disrupters and trying to find the willingness to try and change. The innovators are so important for driving change forward” 

Carmel Mcquaid M&S

When an established company who’s been around for 150 years tries to change their practices in a radical way, they often receive a lot of backlash from their customers and clients. But when 10 startups do it and normalise behaviour, it’s a lot easier for these companies to join in.

 

Demographics dictate company agendas

 

Brands shouldn’t shape society, but should reflect society” 

Carmel Mcquaid M&S

As a business, we all have a responsibility to listen to our customers and adapt accordingly. For example, as M&S witnessed vegan and vegetarian food becoming an increasing demand, they pitched together and developed an amazingly tasty cook-at-home vegan range (trust us, we’ve tried it!). The same response applies to sustainability processes – we hope as this demand for sustainable solutions continues, more companies start to listen and react accordingly.

 

“A company’s target demographic is always going to influence how much they prioritise sustainable practices” 

Daniel Murray, Carbon Smart

It’s evident that today’s 20-year-olds are a generation who are passionate about the environment and are well aware of the importance of sustainable living. We learned it is especially important for companies who target this demographic to prioritise sustainability in order to stay competitive. For millennials, it’s all about a company’s integrity, so if there is a greener solution to a problem, they are more likely to buy into that. As this generation begins to age, we are witnessing further shifts as more traditional companies begin to open their eyes to the importance of sustainable initiatives and changes.

 

Where are we going from here? 

 

“We need to democratise sustainability to empower every employee, customer and journalist to feel that they can make positive changes without the worry of not being perfect” 

Carmel Mcquaid M&S

Living a 100% sustainable existence is a great mission, but we know that it’s not realistic. We need to allow innovation to catch up with new demands, and allow our businesses to learn new practices and execute new initiatives. What matters is that we are starting to implement positive change. 

 

“Sustainability practices will get better and better every day as people continue to make changes internally and externally”

Kaushal Shah, envoPAP

The more we learn about the topic, the more aware we become. Let’s bring this knowledge to our businesses and encourage the right discussions to be had and systems to be implemented. We are witnessing significant improvements daily, and we love being a part of such a positive movement. It is so clear that exposure and demand lead to change, so let’s continue fighting the fight and encourage these conversations to continue to be discussed and dissected.

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