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How managers and entrepreneurs can use sustainability to their advantage

On December 12, 2015, history was made at the international climate conference in Paris. After many years of intensive negotiations, all countries thus committed to changing the global economy in a climate-friendly way.

The paths to achieving the goal of limiting global warming to less than 2°C agreed in Paris have major implications for the feasibility of the so-called SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). It is obvious that the realization of the 17 SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement are closely linked. This becomes particularly clear when looking at Sustainable Development Goal №13, which is entitled “Action for Climate Protection.”

If sustainability is appropriately implemented, it is an opportunity for greater profitability and growth. Many companies have therefore rethought their core values with regard to sustainability. It’s a change that stems from consumers’ desire for more sustainable business practices. One study found that 66% of consumers look for sustainability when making purchases. As more consumers prefer sustainable brands, those who don’t are faced with lower customer perception.

Although switching to greener practices usually costs money at first, you can increase profitability or save money over time. It is already clear that sustainable buildings, for example, can only be sold at a discount in the future because they do not meet legal energy efficiency requirements or simply do not meet people’s expectations. In addition, money can be saved over time by using more efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems that reduce energy consumption and lower electricity bills.

While it is important for businesses to save money, increase profitability and improve customer perception, the environment is the most important reason to act more sustainably. Businesses are one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

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Create a sustainability strategy

Show your entire team the importance of going green. Create green values that show why your company is green, the changes you are making, and how your employees are an integral part of being green.

Create enthusiasm for sustainability

Don’t just let the sustainability strategy happen on paper. Through events and social media, show your passion for sustainability and get people thinking.

Offer incentives

Sometimes making the switch to sustainable practices is difficult at first. Habits are hard to break, and some employees may lack the motivation to put in the extra effort. Try offering incentives for their actions.

Demonstrate sustainability successes

Show employees the impact of their efforts. Offer numbers, such as how much energy has been saved or paper consumption reduced.

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How business owners can promote sustainability with a few steps:

Use home office and video conferencing to reduce travel.

Transportation contributes 29% of greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor. By having your employees work completely remotely or even in a hybrid system, you can significantly reduce transportation-related emissions. Traffic hurts our environment, but your daily commute isn’t the only factor. Flights account for around 90% of business travel emissions. While not all business travel can be avoided, eliminating unnecessary travel and reducing the total number of trips can significantly reduce your company’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Go paperless when possible

The average office worker uses 10,00 sheets of paper per year; that’s about seven trees per year for just one person. In the U.S. and Canada, pulp and paper are the third-largest polluters. The good news is that going paperless is possible.

Digitize and update your business cards

Business cards create a tremendous amount of paper waste. Over 88% of business cards are thrown away within a week. Try switching to an eco-friendly business card. The most popular eco-friendly business cards are digital. Try’ digital business cards for your business. The efficiency benefits of providing Digital Business Card data are huge. Not only for your company but also and especially in association with other companies.


Don’t waste energy.

Heating and air conditioning often account for the majority of energy bills. Reduce your energy consumption with smart thermostats, better insulation, double-glazed windows and more efficient heating and cooling systems. Some energy use is necessary, but the energy you use can also be more environmentally friendly. Ask if your utility offers a renewable energy option, or install solar panels. Switching your lighting to LED bulbs will help reduce energy consumption. Your electric bill will be lower, and LED bulbs have a much longer life than most other light sources, so you won’t have to replace them as often.

Reduce water consumption.

Water is not an unlimited resource. Reduce water use in your office through more efficient equipment and proper maintenance.


Eliminate single-use plastic.

If you have water bottles, plastic utensils, straws or other single-use plastic products, now is the time to switch to reusable alternatives. If reusable products aren’t an option for your office, look for compostable products.

Start composting.

Food waste fills a large portion of landfills. Reduce your dependence on landfills and create a natural fertilizer along the way. Look for a composter to pick up food waste at your office for easy composting in your office.

Create green spaces and put in mosses

Creating green spaces in your office is not only a great way to help the environment, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to create a beautiful place for employees to spend time outdoors. Mosses provide a balanced humidity level.

Images by Matt Palmer, Bakhrom T ursunov on Unsplash