With the looming threat of climate change and a major public push towards sustainable practices, asking questions about sustainability is one of the best things you can do both for the planet and your business. However, making fundamental changes to how your company operates is no easy feat.
The reality of sustainability is that we are only just beginning to move away from deeply ingrained unsustainable infrastructure, so truly sustainable endeavors require effort and innovation. In this article we will cover some important sustainability questions that many different companies need to address.
All companies are unique in their operation, so the most appropriate sustainability questions differ wildly between each company. The trick to maximizing your results is to figure out which areas apply the most to your company and start asking questions about sustainability there first.
If you’re running a hydroponics operation, for example, it’s likely that unavoidable electricity use is the single biggest factor impacting your company’s sustainability. The most impactful environmental change you can make would be to switch electricity suppliers to one that generates electricity using 100% renewable sources.
It is very difficult to become completely independent of fossil fuels, but major reductions are certainly possible. One frequently overlooked fossil fuel source comes not from within your company, but indirectly from the third parties that you choose to do business with. For example, when ordering bulk supplies, choosing a supplier that is geographically closer does wonders for the carbon footprint of your company.
Logistics, in particular, also involves a great deal of motorized transport. The environmental cost of this can be mitigated by grouping orders together, or choosing delivery companies with a sustainable ethos. The same goes for any other third-party companies that you interact with; asking sustainability questions when selecting business partners is highly important.
The most effective way to handle waste is to prevent it from being created in the first place, and how best to achieve this is one of the most important sustainability questions that you can ask yourself. For example, if your company buys in hundreds of individual bags of topsoil yearly, you could make a huge difference to waste production by placing fewer bulk-size orders instead. By doing this, you also reduce the indirect fossil fuel use associated with all those small deliveries.
Some sources of waste cannot be eliminated, but many common types can be easily recycled or repurposed; metal recycling is ubiquitous, and if cardboard is not recycled in your area, it can be composted along with any green waste your company produces. In fact, many companies exist around the world with the sole purpose of diverting compostable waste away from landfills.
Even with the most diligent reduction and recycling practices, the generation of waste products can’t be entirely prevented. The operation of a business is almost always going to create some unavoidable waste, and one of the most common sustainability questions faced by eco-conscious companies is whether there is a sustainable way to deal with it.
The main culprit of unavoidable waste in landscaping, hydroponics and gardening is almost always plastic. The big problem with plastics is that there are so many different polymers- most municipal recycling facilities can only recycle a few of these, and generally cannot accept mixed plastics, so most of this waste ends up going to landfill despite the best efforts to recycle it.
This issue has not gone unnoticed, however. Arqlite is pioneering the next generation of recycling, using these non-recyclable plastics to produce sustainable gravel for use in concrete, hydroponics, gardening and more. They are eager to answer your questions about sustainability and offer a service to help your company offset its plastic production.
With the current socio-economic climate, public trust has never been lower. The majority of people now default to distrusting claims made by large companies, unless they are backed up with irrefutable evidence. Transparency is more important than ever to the functioning of large businesses; even the most stringent sustainability practices will make very little difference to your company’s profits if they are all carried out quietly.
The answer, of course, is to ensure that clear and concise evidence of all your eco-friendly decisions is provided readily to prospective clients, giving them no need to ask any sustainability questions. Taking pride in sustainability also has the knock-on effect of helping to bring the importance of looking after our planet into the spotlight, and every contribution to this counts towards the global effort for a greener future.
Sustainable business practices are commonly thought to be expensive, creating additional costs that inevitably get passed onto the client base of a company. This does not have to be the case – in fact, the opposite is often true. Reducing resource usage is a tactic that directly lowers cost to your company, but it comes hand in hand with a reduction in your planetary impact. For example, designing a more efficient distribution network directly results in reduced fossil fuel purchases, which comes along with a handy reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Simply put, an efficient, lightweight business costs less to run, which results in proportionally higher profit margins. In addition, the demand for sustainable practices results in increased consumer uptake for green companies. Applied throughout every aspect of your business, tactics such as these produce impressive results, so how to integrate them is one of the most important sustainability questions you can ask yourself.
Asking sustainability questions about your company’s longevity is a shrewd strategy for mitigating the risks involved in running a business. It is likely that climate change and dwindling oil supplies will play havoc with the global economy in the coming years, so preemptive adaptation to these issues is an effective way to ensure the longevity of your company.
A company that is minimally reliant on fossil fuels and plastics is effectively immune to a sudden explosion in oil prices, for example. Switching to sustainable practices could also lessen the impact of governmental sustainability measures like carbon taxation. In the short term, ensuring the longevity of your company through sustainable practices also increases its attractiveness to investors.
Environmentally responsible conduct is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of running a business. It also contributes to the global push towards sustainability that is required to steer humanity towards a brighter future. The larger your company, the larger its impact on the planet; it’s never been more important to get those big sustainability questions answered.
By continually posing questions about sustainability, eco-conscious companies are ensuring their continued existence in an increasingly tumultuous economic climate. Sustainability comes hand-in-hand with success; after all, if your business can function indefinitely, it can profit indefinitely.