Future of work

3 green business ideas (from easy to aspirational)

Lydia Watson

The climate is in crisis. We’re living through a now-or-never time to intervene and it’s not surprising that ‘green living’ and environmental sustainability are on everyone’s minds. 

That extends through every part of your teams’ lives: from the businesses they buy from, to the ones they work for. And that means, if you’re thinking about making your employee value proposition more attractive, then finding ways to be greener is key. 

What is ‘employee value proposition’?

When you put out a job advert, you’re offering more than a salary. With that comes a range of perks – from practical things like eyecare vouchers to psychological perks like a sense of purpose. As we’ve discussed, the world of work is changing fast. That means adapting your EVP to meet the needs of current and future workers – including environmental sustainability. 

The business benefits of environmental sustainability:

  • 82% of millennials would be more loyal to a organisation that lets them contribute to solving environmental problems
  • 64% of millennials wouldn’t even work for a business without a strong CSR
  • The majority of millennials workers would accept lower pay to work for a green company
  • Gen-Z staff would also prioritise purpose over salary, and feel strongly about the climate 
  • Ethical business practices correlate with higher profits, according to most data

The takeaway? There are a lot of benefits of going green for a business. Sustainability really does matter, and it’s important that you showcase your environmental-focused policies and practices to your employees – or you risk raising retention.

How to make your business more environmentally sustainable:

1. Simple changes to the workplace

For businesses going green, there’s a few small, inexpensive steps you can take. They might not seem groundbreaking, but ‘little drops make the mighty ocean’ after all – plus these steps are visible enough to A) signal your intentions to your employees, and B) set a good example. 

These steps could include:

  • Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Reviewing your recycling bins, and encouraging use
  • Making the office paper-free, with digital documents
  • Offering reusable bottles to stop plastic waste
  • Provide sustainable tea and coffee, avoiding unethical brands

2. Responsible travel practices & policies

One big part of environmental sustainability in business comes down to travel. On the extreme end are international business trips, but normal commuting plays a part in this too. There’s a few things you can do here to encourage a greener approach.

Some suggestions to consider:

Suggestion #1: Some business flights are necessary, but try and keep it to a minimum – video conferencing tech has come a long way. If people have to fly, why not consider making carbon offsetting standard practice?

Suggestion #2: Cycle schemes can encourage your employees to travel green, but you can go further than this – just by making it easier to take up. Offer secure bike storage, or arrange ‘cycle safety’ sessions for nervous would-be bikers.

Suggestion #3: If you’re considering a hybrid working model, make sure your ‘office days’ are meaningful. Encourage staff to only come in when needed to prevent unnecessary commuting, and set up a system where the office is closed if unused – so resources aren’t being wasted.

3. Consider your partners & suppliers

This is probably the most challenging step, but also the most important. By carefully selecting your suppliers and partners, you can make sure you’re working with them towards a more sustainable world. And although it might be hard to cut ties on the grounds of sustainability, remember this:

You’re part of something bigger: are the raw materials you’re using supporting child labour, or destroying the rainforest? Has the partner you’re working with ever shown unethical behaviour that you don’t want to back up? It’s your responsibility not to ignore wrong when it’s done.

You’re known by the company you keep: your employees and your customers will both judge you for the companies you partner with, and the suppliers you use. Being associated with someone who doesn’t share your values can be disastrous to your reputation. 

Environmental sustainability in business: should it be your priority?

What do your people really want? With 75% of the workforce set to be millennials by 2025, the evidence that environmental sustainability should be a business priority is clear. But the only way to understand your employees is to listen to them. And we’ve got a faster, simpler way to do that.

For 21 days, you can try out our faster, simpler surveys for FREE. Qlearsite Foundation is built for small businesses, team leaders, and time-poor, cash-strapped HR professionals – so you can get advanced insights at an affordable price. Learn more:

 

Faster, simpler surveys – free for 21 days

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