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5 Ways to Implement Sustainability in your Business

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posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 08:27 AM
Mods, If there is a business centered forum here that I'm not seeing, please move this to there.

Just thought I'd share this with everyone here to see if anyone has any thoughts they can add to make this more complete. Constructive criticism as well as pointing out the stronger points of this article are also welcome. The main purpose of this is to make aware to any business owners out there, regardless of what type of business you own, the different viewpoints you can take to make your business more profitable by saving money by way of implementing sustainabilty programs.

With the amount of "out of the box" thinkers we have here, I thought it would be a good idea to post something technical like this to get the point of view of people like that.


1) Define sustainability as it applies to your business

The term sustainability is a broad one that can have different meanings for different companies. The two most common definitions in use deal with the operations of a company and the overall methods in which to help guarantee and maintain sales. Sustainability in your operations means you implement energy saving procedures as well as recycling programs so as to have a less harmful ecological effect on your community.

For example, having recycling programs set up that start with your facility and end in a recycling center instead of a landfill. Sustainability in regards to a continued and acceptable level of sales could mean that you secure vendors that can meet those sales needs while at the same time practicing sustainability programs of their own on the operations level. All the while making sure that these vendors are as cost effective as possible so you can then pass down savings to your customers. By doing this you are sustaining your business on the "bottom line" level.

2) Identify opportunties for sustainability

Every company in operation today has opportunties to help make their business more sustainable. To find which opportunities are right for your business, you have to think logically. If recycling programs are not practical from a financial standpoint simply becasue you don't have enough by-products to recycle, there are other ways. For instance you can install motion sensor lighting as your budget allows. The savings you incur by doing this can be put back into installing more until your entire facity or facilities are outfitted with this means of saving money.

3) Identify which of those opportunities are practical

When looking for practical ways to implement sustainability programs, you not only have to think of your bottom line but also how they will effect the community you are in. If for example there are water shortage issues in your area, you may want to look into water recycling programs. Your proximity to watersheds is also something you should take into consideration especially if your business consumes and discharges large amounts of water.

This is one of those things many businesses don't think a lot about but also something that can negatively affect your bottom line in the long run. There are grants you can look into which can help you implement water saving programs that can help lower your expenditures, as well as have a minimal ecological impact on your community.

4) Determine which opportunities are financially feasible.

The most important aspect of sustainability for your company is the up-front cost of whatever programs you decide to go with. You are going to want to go over these with your accountant with a fine tooth comb to see if it will be financially feasible in the long term. If there is one thing that companies do wrong here it's that they do not think ahead. There can be many different aspects of just one program that you have to take into account in order to get a clear picture of what is financially practical and what is not.

5) Identify and secure the companies that can help you realize your goals

Once you know what will work for you monetarily you will have a clear path to which companies can help you realize your sustainability plans. All of the tips provided here are general in nature because, again, every company is going to differ in terms of what sustainability means to them. They will also differ, as a matter of course, as to how they will implement what suits them best.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 09:30 AM
The problem is, sustainability options are going to be very industry specific, so you can only be extremely broad and vague in your approach.

For example, my wife and I own a ranch, so our example of sustainability, is that we use the horse manure to fertilize the pastures. For the tack shop (horse gear, saddles, etc.), we only turn on the lights when we have a customer (otherwise, we're elsewhere on the ranch). For water, we use well water. I've been checking into some other things (like incorporating some solar power to power fans for the stables), but to be honest, it looks (initially) to be cost prohibitive for what I'd get out of it.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:13 PM
That's true, the smaller the operation is the smaller your options would have to be.

From a financial standpoint I guess it's all relative.


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