Sustainability isn’t just for eco geeks

I am not one to jump on bandwagons.  Buzz words do nothing for me. However I do also look to improve the way things can be done.

I recently attended an excellent event hosted by Knowledge Peers “Sustainability: Win in Business”, the speakers included small business owners who have applied sustainability in their business, consultants and the project manager for environmental sustainability at the BBC. The event also included a tour of one of three manufacturers, McVities, Octink or Bighams all of whom who have used sustainability methods..

Whilst public sector organisations may have politically motivated drivers it was clear that the main factor for small businesses including sustainability in their business strategy is the profit line.  Green initiatives are not put into place if the numbers don’t stack up!

It was interesting to hear how sustainability can have a positive impact on profits through:

  • reducing costs through the reduction of waste
  • increasing revenue and margins as green products are often more attractive to customers

It is also worth bearing in mind that if your business sells to the public sector or large organisations you will be more and more likely to have to establish your sustainability credentials in order to win business.  One speaker also mentioned that sustainability policy is increasingly a factor that influences potential employees.

In another blog I spoke about my 3 Rs of management accounts (they should be Relevant, Readable and Reliable). It seems that there are also 3 Rs when it comes to sustainability (Reduce, Recycle and Reuse).

Bighams manufactures handmade ready meals (Waitrose is their main customer). Having seen several food factories in the past, this was my first visit to one for a while and was highly enjoyable.  It was interesting to see the focus on waste reduction and where that is not possible on recycling.  One initiative that appealed to me was the reduction in the cost of ceramic pots – changing the shape allowed the material content to be reduced without compromising the strength of the container.

The bottom line of this blog is that sustainability isn’t just for eco-geeks, it is common business sense and is about the bottom line!

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