Environmental Sustainability for Your Onsite Business

Environmental Sustainability for Your Onsite Business

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Today’s leading companies recognize that sustainability is an important part of their business strategy. A company’s sustainability strategy can help increase revenue and brand value, as well as increase operational efficiencies. However, knowing where to begin and how to implement a sustainability strategy can be difficult because formal regulations don’t exist and yet there are many opinions on the topic. 

In many ways, sustainability is still an emerging business value, particularly for the onsite industry. Many companies are developing plans while trying to get a sense of what others are doing. After all, innovation must ultimately benefit the business. 

Sustainability goals drive innovation 

When the need to reduce or replace resources exists, be it energy, water, materials, fuel, or trash waste, sustainability goals drive innovation. The current focus on reduction and replacement has been, and continues to be, a powerful motivator for developing more economical and environmentally friendly alternatives. 

For example, the onsite industry shares a common goal to reduce fuel consumption and labor hours. Paying more at the pump cuts into profits while inefficient routes result in longer service days, higher labor costs, and increased operational expenses. Consequently, many companies are implementing logistics software that improves the efficiencies of daily service routes and trucking costs, and reduces labor costs. 

Although optimizing route logistics saves money, it is also environmentally responsible; fewer miles driven on the road means less fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. Additionally, some software systems have gone to paperless dispatching and invoicing, which reduces paper use. Less paper to manage in the office increases efficiency. 

Sustainability improves brand value 

Companies with sustainability plans gain a competitive edge because consumers are demanding green products and services. These companies are often seen as innovative, socially responsible, and as having higher standards, which are all strong branding attributes. 

Prospective customers who have like-minded goals for environmental responsibility or who need to meet specific green requirements prefer vendors with green initiatives. Sustainability plans make good business sense by enhancing a company’s brand and by meeting consumers’ demands for environmental responsibility. 

Sustainability initiatives increase revenue 

Sustainability also makes good sense because many benefits feed back into the bottom line. Reducing required resources lowers business costs, which adds to profitability. Consider the benefits of logistics software previously mentioned: Driving fewer miles reduces carbon emissions and fuel consumption, which contributes to sustainability goals while improving productivity and labor hours, thus reducing operational costs. 

In addition, supplies bought in bulk reduce wasteful packaging and trips to the landfill. Green initiatives in the office that reduce power requirements and paper waste decrease utility and supply expenses thereby adding to the bottom line. 

Sustainability in demand 

Companies must be prepared to meet escalating consumer demand for greener products and services. They must be able to respond to their customers’ environmental initiatives, stricter regulations, and green building codes to compete in today’s marketplace. Environmental responsibility is a global concern that will affect the way business is done in all industries. 

One key example is LEED-certified building projects. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program provides certification for building projects that have a commitment to energy conservation, reducing water consumption, improving indoor air quality, making better building material choices, and driving innovation. Green initiatives are growing in the construction field, and demand for vendors with sustainability plans that satisfy these new requirements will grow as well. And it doesn’t stop there — corporate event and private party planners and recreational facilities are also seeking greener products and services. 

Sustainability is good for business 

Companies should strive to meet escalating consumer demand for greener products and services because it’s good for business and the environment. Forward-thinking companies can prepare by implementing plans that benefit the environment, add value to their brand, and help them compete in this new market frontier. 

Developing a plan for sustainability might seem overwhelming at first, so here are a few suggestions to get started: 

1.     Identify ways to reduce miles driven, fuel consumption or excessive packaging. One of the largest costs in an onsite company is trucking costs, so even small improvements will add up in savings.

2.     Consider ways to reduce landfill waste through biodegradable packaging or recycling programs. Seek vendors that provide green products and that also have sustainability initiatives. Substitute environmentally friendly supplies whenever possible.

3.     Ensure that your sustainability strategy and social responsibility guidelines align with business plans. You should also be able to incorporate initiatives into everyday business practices. 

Strong green initiatives must increase profitability and efficiencies yet be adequately accounted for in management and accounting plans. For example, a sustainability plan might include converting all vehicles to electric power, thereby satisfying ambitious sustainability goals. However, the cost of replacing a fleet of trucks might not be within acceptable budgetary constraints and might meet opposition from operations managers if logistics are negatively affected. 

Aligning the sustainability strategy to the business plan can allow for achievable, short-term solutions, such as improving fuel efficiency with proper maintenance, optimizing routing, and focusing on innovative dispatching. Long-range plans might include replacing older trucks with newer, fuel-efficient technologies. 

True sustainability must be integrated into all business operations, thus creating a unified, company-wide effort. Promote corporate sustainability initiatives internally with employees, encouraging participation, innovative thinking and team commitment. Advertise sustainability plans in marketing efforts to improve your brand value and attract business. Encourage participation from suppliers to provide greener products and packaging and more efficient distribution. 

And lastly, inspect what you expect. Once initiatives are established, ensure that employees and processes don’t become complacent. Dubious environmental claims can be damaging, even if unintentional. 

About the Author

Beverly Lewis runs a marketing agency, the Beverly Lewis Group, dedicated to helping small businesses with marketing solutions. Having served as the director of sales & marketing for two portable sanitation companies, her unique background combined with an expertise in marketing is well suited for the portable sanitation industry. She believes that a company’s image is represented in every aspect of the company.

She is an active member of the PSAI and was awarded the distinguished Sani-Award in 2008 for outstanding service. Contact Beverly at beverly@beverlylewisgroup.com or visit www.beverlylewisgroup.com.

Does being more sustainable help your onsite business? What are you doing to inform customers about your sustainability efforts? Post a comment below. 


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