The first step to Sustainability in your organization

By Miriam Maan

In today's rapidly evolving world, sustainability is increasingly seen as not only an ethical, but also a business sense. Organizations committed to a sustainable path are experiencing numerous benefits, including cost savings, increased efficiency and a positive impact on the environment. But as an organization, how do you take the first steps toward sustainability?

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The steps:

1. Create awareness

It all starts with awareness. Make sure all employees understand why sustainability is important and what impact it can have. Organize workshops, presentations or internal campaigns to raise awareness and create a shared understanding.

2. Establish sustainability policies

Develop a clear and measurable sustainability policy that sets the direction of the organization. Set concrete goals, such as reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste or promoting environmentally friendly practices. Make sure these goals align with the organization's core values. Many certifications such as B corp or Ecovadis also ask for examples of such policies, so if you want to get started with certification, you'll be one step ahead.

Want to go a step further? To determine which aspects of sustainability are relevant to your organization, you can perform a so-called dual-material analysis. Here you not only look at your organization's impact on sustainability, but also at how the environment impacts your business. You can think about the impact of water shortage or flooding on your business.

3. Engage employees

Create a culture of commitment and responsibility among all employees. Encourage ideas, organize sustainability challenges and reward initiatives that contribute to a greener work environment. An engaged team is essential to the success of sustainability efforts. You could use gamefication in which different departments/teams compete against each other and step by step make their department more sustainable.

4. Measure and evaluate continuously 

Set up measurable indicators for sustainability goals and regularly evaluate progress. Use this data to make adjustments and refine sustainability policies. Transparency and accountability are crucial to maintaining credibility. You can address this with Excel reports, or embed it in a data management solution.

5. Collaborate with stakeholders

Seek collaboration with other organizations, industry associations or local communities. Sharing knowledge and experiences can be valuable in finding innovative solutions and increasing impact. For example, consider a community waste contract, reusing orange peels and coffee grounds, or greening a community courtyard to promote biodiversity.

By following these steps, you lay a solid foundation for a sustainable future for your organization. They are not just changes in operations, but a mindset that paves the way to a more sustainable and resilient business. Which step will you take first?

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