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Practical Steps for Companies to Champion Sustainability

By Common Impact | April 27, 2023

It is important for companies to prioritize sustainability efforts and effectively communicate them to their stakeholders. The world has reached a crucial point in its history where the need for sustainability has become a business imperative. The discussion around sustainability is no longer the prerogative of environmentalists but rather a cross-sector concern. Moreover, studies have shown that companies that incorporate sustainability into their business models are more profitable and have a better reputation among consumers and employees. 

From reducing energy consumption and waste to embracing renewable resources and exploring the benefits of pro bono services, there are countless ways for companies to show their commitment to the environment. It requires a shift in corporate culture, where sustainability becomes embedded deep within the organization’s DNA, from the board of directors to management, and there are practical steps that can be taken to achieve it. 

Sustainability in Today’s Business Landscape 

Sustainability is a critical aspect of the decision-making process of customers, investors, and other stakeholders. Sustainability no longer limits itself to environmental conservation but also examines economic and social factors and behaviors. 

Integrating sustainable practices is not only about reducing a company’s carbon footprint or complying with regulations. It is about creating long-term value for all stakeholders by protecting the environment, reducing costs, enhancing reputation, and promoting innovation. 

Educating and Engaging Employees 

Educating and engaging employees on sustainability can help companies improve their sustainability performance. When employees are educated on sustainability issues and engaged in sustainability initiatives, they are more likely to take actions that reduce the company’s environmental impact, such as reducing waste, conserving energy, and using sustainable products and services. 

Many companies struggle to engage a diverse group of employees. As the societal conversation around environmental justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion moves to the forefront, it’s important to recognize the role that BIPOC employees can play in advancing sustainability. By creating meaningful opportunities for BIPOC employees to engage with sustainability efforts, companies can foster a sense of ownership and empowerment that can help drive positive change in local communities.  

One way to do this is by providing resources and training to encourage them to adopt sustainable practices in their daily work and personal lives and providing opportunities to participate in sustainability initiatives. 

Companies can create employee-led sustainability committees that help to identify local initiatives and implement sustainability goals that align with the company’s values and mission. This creates a sense of community and collaboration that can inspire employees from all backgrounds to take action and become champions for sustainability. 

Communicating Sustainability Efforts to Customers 

Operating profitably is no longer enough; businesses must demonstrate that they contribute to a better future for all. Consumers today are savvy enough to see right through greenwashing tactics, so it’s essential to show them how your brand’s sustainability efforts are making a real difference. If your customers can see sustainability in action, they’re more likely to take notice.  

Companies can consider integrating pro bono services by working with nonprofit organizations to assist with environmental initiatives and other community causes. This strategy will not only provide you with tangible results you can share with your customers, but it will also engage your employees, increasing workplace satisfaction.  

Harnessing the Power of Sustainability Skills-Based Volunteering for Businesses 

Sustainability skills-based volunteering is a powerful tool in driving social and environmental change. With the rise of a new workforce and business models prioritizing social and environmental impact, nonprofits have become essential players in the corporate world. 

As businesses seek to integrate sustainability into their operations, nonprofits are stepping in to provide expertise, network, resources, and boots-on-the-ground action. By partnering with nonprofits, businesses can harness the power of skills-based volunteering to deliver more sustainable and impactful results while engaging employees and strengthening their reputation. 

Benefits of Sustainable Volunteerism for Businesses 

With skilled volunteering, businesses can identify and activate untapped talent within their workforces, driving innovation and progress. The future of work is rapidly changing, and skilled volunteering has the potential to shape the future of business in a more sustainable and socially responsible way. 

Skills-based volunteerism can be incredibly valuable for nonprofits working towards sustainability and climate action in several ways, including: 

  • Access to specialized expertise: Skills-based volunteers bring unique professional expertise to the nonprofit sector. By volunteering their skills and knowledge, they can help nonprofits address complex challenges related to sustainability and climate action that require specific expertise. 
  • Increased capacity: With limited resources, nonprofits may struggle to complete all the tasks required to achieve their goals. By offering their professional skills pro bono, skills-based volunteers can help nonprofits expand their capacity and accomplish more. 
  • Collaboration and networking: Skills-based volunteering can facilitate collaboration and networking among nonprofits, volunteers, and community partners. This can help nonprofits leverage resources and expertise to address complex sustainability challenges more effectively. 

Skills-based volunteering can also be beneficial for companies in multiple ways.  

  • Employee engagement and retention: Offering skills-based volunteering opportunities can improve employee morale, engagement, and retention. Volunteering can give employees a sense of purpose and fulfillment, increasing job satisfaction and loyalty. 
  • Enhanced brand reputation: By supporting sustainability and climate action through skills-based volunteering, companies can enhance their brand reputation and improve their standing in the community. This can increase customer loyalty and attract new customers interested in supporting socially responsible businesses. 
  • Increased innovation: Skills-based volunteering can expose employees to new ideas and perspectives, leading to increased creativity and innovation. This can benefit the company by enhancing its competitiveness and ability to adapt to changing market conditions. 

Ultimately, skills-based volunteering can be a win-win for both companies and nonprofits. Cross-sector partnerships can be incredibly valuable for moving toward our global sustainability goals. By combining resources and expertise, cross-sector partnerships can achieve a greater impact than any one sector could achieve alone.