Businesses that operate sustainably may be the exception right now, but before long, it will be expected in all industries. Companies need to take action. Look at Amazon’s example. It co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019, committing to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and switching to renewable energy by 2025. It also invited others to sign on to do the same.
The good news is that you can start small. Since Amazon’s efforts are already established and publicized, you can even use that to your advantage. For instance, swap in Amazon corporate gift cards as rewards instead of branded swag. Not only are you supporting a company committed to sustainability, but you’re also avoiding waste from physical gifts that are thrown away.
Here are three other ways you can easily start implementing eco-friendly business practices.
U.S. offices use 12.1 trillion sheets of paper a year, and much of that ends up in landfills. With the pandemic forcing increased use of digital tools, now is the perfect time for businesses to cut down on paper. It’s easier, in fact, to pass files among remote and hybrid teams using online channels.
To take it another step, reduce paper and plastic used in customer communications as well. Offer customers the opportunity to choose to go paperless for billing and notifications. You can even reward them (digitally, of course) with Amazon corporate gift cards or another type of virtual incentive.
You can’t expect customers to consider you an eco-friendly brand unless you yourself work with eco-friendly partners. And consumers are increasingly looking to engage with brands that apply eco-friendly practices to everything from production to marketing. Using Amazon corporate gift cards for your rewards is just one small example. You should also look at the vendors you work with for all your business operations and ask about their practices. See which ones joined Amazon for The Climate Pledge. Find out the details of your supply chain and whether it’s possible to switch to more sustainable options. You may not be able to deal exclusively with eco-friendly vendors, but if vendors know that companies are seeking that out, more will be forced to reevaluate their practices.
Your employees are the foundation of your operations, so if they have a reason to focus on sustainability, your whole company will benefit. Offer digital gift cards to employees who adopt environmentally friendly habits, such as carpooling or biking to work. Reward those who bring their own reusable cups and mugs to the office. Challenge them to incorporate green initiatives into their business strategies, and give prizes for the best ideas. Make even the rewards eco-friendly! You could give recipients the option to donate their reward to an organization that helps the environment, like the Clean Water Fund.
Adopting eco-friendly business practices is of course the right thing to do for the environment, but your company will see benefits as well. In the Global Sustainability Study 2021 from Simon-Kucher & Partners, 60% of consumers cited sustainability as an important factor in their purchase decisions. And more than a third overall — including 42% of millennials and 39% of Generation Z — are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Your green practices will help you attract new customers who seek out eco-friendly companies, as well as keep current customers from switching to more sustainable brands.
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