Until recent years, a sustainability policy or a social responsibility mission statement was a nice little added extra. Something that businesses included if they were passionate about operating in a particular way or, dare we say it, as a cynical way to appear ethical.
These days though, the global reach of social media means that issues can be highlighted that might not otherwise have gained awareness beyond a local reach. Thank you, internet! As a result, we’re all more growing socially aware, and it’s triggering a demand for businesses to reflect this.
There’s an appetite to become more eco-friendly, politically aware, socially inclusive, and to do more to help with climate change, carbon emissions, and homelessness. It’s hardly surprising really – these are things that affect all of us! For this reason, people are now gravitating towards brands who run their business for good.
What makes a business ‘good’?
Good for the planet, good for the economy, good for the people within your company and good for the wider community. It’s about becoming more conscious, responsible and accountable for what the business is taking from and giving back into the world. Customers are looking out for it, and the world needs it.
Taking action to build a better business
It sounds labour intensive, and worryingly like it’s going to cost a lot of money but, it needn’t be the case – phew! Even simple operational changes can go a long way, like switching to local suppliers where possible. It boosts the local economy whilst reducing the distance that materials must travel.
What else? As most of us now rely on computers and digital devices anyway, there’s no reason not to extend this to cutting down on paper-based record-keeping. Cloud storage is efficient, accessible from anywhere, and cuts down on the costs associated with paper filing, too. (And yes, even cloud-based accountancy is feasible!)
You might also:
- Reduce (or ideally, eliminate) single-use plastic in the workplace
- Research sustainable options when buying supplies and stationery
- Converting to an electric vehicle fleet
- Provide staff with a cycle to work scheme
- Move over to renewable energy providers
Ways your business can give back to the community
Supporting the community is good for a business on many levels. It gives employees the satisfaction of working for a company that does more than just pay their wages, fostering a sense of loyalty and appreciation.
Local news stories can be a good talking point over longer distances too. Having a good reputation is never a bad thing, especially if you’re looking to expand the business into a new region or territory. You’ll get a warmer reception to the neighbourhood if you have good references from your existing site!
It might not be appropriate to support every cause though. Unfortunately our increased social awareness has also grown our tendency towards cynicism, which can see even the most genuine of good intentions called into question. The firm giving so generously should do so with authenticity. Fortunately there are plenty of options, such as supporting not-for-profit initiatives, donating to local charities or food banks, or sponsoring a charity or community event.
You might also:
- Get involved with tree planting (e.g. sponsor a tree to be planted for every order)
- Offer your skills or services for free to those in need
- Give your employees time away from work (even if its just once a year) to volunteer
What measures are you taking to make sure your business is more responsible? If going paperless is part of your sustainability plan of action, get in touch to find out more about our cloud-based bookkeeping software, Pandle.