Corporate Sustainability: It’s Not (Always) Easy Being Green

How To Make Sure Your Corporate Sustainability Plan Doesn’t Skimp On The Details

At Public, we work every day with businesses all around the world who want to be a force for good for the planet. More and more, we see that corporate social responsibility plans include a heavy push towards becoming more environmentally sustainable and being mindful of the impact a business has on the world around them. Even those who are just beginning their journey into the world of sustainability are beginning to think about how they’ll offset their carbon footprint, invest in green technologies, and innovate new ways to reduce the environmental impact of the products they sell or the services they provide. 

And while we think that’s wonderful, there’s so much more to consider.

Few businesses today are looking beyond the traditional table-stakes of a sustainability plan to consider the impacts of all the ways they operate. It’s one thing to make sure you have a plan to reduce the environmental impact of your products, but if you’re still leaving all the lights, all night long, in every one of your stores, is your effort truly all-encompassing?

As we wind down Earth Month and head into the summer, here are 3 things you may not be thinking about when it comes to developing or executing your sustainability plan. 

The Finer Details: As we hinted, transition LED bulbs are a great first step for anyone looking to make a change in their energy usage, but we challenge businesses everywhere to think about consumption reduction efforts from every angle. Can you reduce the lights in your office or retail stores at night, or better yet, turn them off entirely? What about reducing excessive use of A/C? If your retail store door is open all day and your air conditioner is pumping away at 100%, it’s not likely that a few LED bulbs will really do much to save the world. While every small step counts, challenge yourself to think bigger. 

Consider Your Reach: You’ve redesigned your product to be fully recyclable. But was your packaging a consideration, too? How about your delivery methods? Or your advertising; how green are the tactics being distributed by your media dollars? Sending out 10,000 Direct Mailers that are non-recyclable, or printing hundreds of traditional billboards, will all ultimately end up in a landfill. There are so many ways that we all impact the world around us. And while we’re not saying that every plan has to solve every problem, starting to think about our reach beyond our business is the only way we’re all going to make a significant amount of change. Spoiler alert: computing and internet connectivity all use power too — but there are ways to help make it green!  

Reduce, Revisit, Recommit: The plan of today is not the plan of forever. New tech and inventions can help us all become more environmentally friendly, but the next decade is sure to see new developments and opportunities for even more positive change. Check in on your progress every year and see where new updates can be made. Set future targets, sure, but also consider realistic goals you can set for today. Keep yourself accountable every single year and — for the brave ones among you — report on your progress publicly to show your commitments, your failures, and how you’re working to change.  

And listen: we get it. Making the shift to sustainability is hard. We won’t all get it right on day one. And every single effort that we all take adds up. But if we want to truly make a difference for our planet, we need to do more than ‘just enough’. We need to literally change the world. 

Thankfully, we’re here to help you do it.

Public Inc.