Creating Sustainable Value for YOUR Business!

One of the largest mistakes that many businesses make is viewing sustainability as a COST, instead of looking at the VALUE it can provide.

 

It’s no longer a question of whether your business can afford to go green, its about whether you can afford not to.  So….what is sustainable value, and where does it come from?

 

Sustainable business practices add value and compliment the four quadrants of the traditional ‘value matrix’: Present Internal, Present External, Future Internal, and Future External Value.

 

Let’s look at the ways that applying a sustainability lens can boost value in these four quadrants.

 

Present Internal Value: Sustainable business practices provide present internal value by engaging employees to reduce waste and increase efficiency, which can drastically reduce operating costs and energize your workforce.

 

Present External Value: Engaging with your value chain to develop product stewardship and sustainably increase the life of your products will increase your business’s reputation and legitimacy.

 

Future Internal Value: Sustainable business planning drives innovation and can reposition your business, allowing you to identify and develop the products, services, and skills that will be required in a resource-constrained world.

 

Future External Value: When planning a future path and communicating your vision with stakeholders and clients, a sustainable business defines a clear future path for itself. Achieving a clear sustainability plan facilitates competitive imagination, and clarifies organizational priorities. This, in turn, provides access to new markets and satisfies unmet needs, while increasing operational efficiency.

 

Using this framework can help you determine where and how your business is best posed to take action and create new value!

 

Creating sustainable value is our PASSION – schedule a call with us, and let’s work together!

 

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Photo Credit: youtube.com/watch?v=jpeS9lFDHpY

7 Ways Sustainable Business Saves Your Business Money

Sustainable business – it’s not just the ethical way to do business, it’s the most profitable!

 

Businesses can improve their profits by 51% up to 81% by developing and implementing a robust, prioritized and strategic sustainability plan.

Below are the 7 key areas where you’re missing out if you don’t have a sustainability plan:

  1. Increased Revenue
  2. Reduced Energy
  3. Reduced Waste
  4. Reduced Materials
  5. Increased Productivity
  6. Reduced Turn-Over
  7. Reduced Risks 
Here’s a FREE calculator that you can use to calculate:

 

  • How much your business can save on things like energy and waste
  • How much more you can make by positioning your business as one that cares
  • How much you can improve your profits

Don’t hesitate to book a time to chat with us if you want to learn more about how you could start making sustainability work for you and your business!

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The Five-Prong Sustainability Strategy 

Sustainability can feel complicated – the earth is a complex place, and humans are a complex species! Too many businesses’ sustainability strategies involve picking best practices from a list, instead of systematically prioritizing the steps that are right for you and your business.

 

In this post, I’ll break down a five-part sustainability strategy that can help you cut through the fog and get clarity on your sustainability strategy!

 

It’s simple!

 

1. System – First, we have to understand the conditions that provide a healthy and sustainable environment for us to live and work in. What are the limits and rules that govern sustainable living on earth, and how do we stay within those boundaries? What systems does your business operate and exist within?

 

2. Success – We have to define success – without a definition, you cannot evaluate yourself on your progress or make goals for the future.

 

3. Strategy – Having a proper sustainability strategy is CRUCIAL! Without a step-by-step plan for how you’re going to achieve success, you’ll be stuck forever on square one.

 

4. Actions – This is where it all starts to come together! Carefully selecting and carrying out your strategic initiatives is the tofu and potatoes of sustainability – Identify the low hanging fruit, and begin consistently working towards success.

 

5. Tools – These are often overlooked, but are also extremely important! The proper tools help make your actions more effective and help you understand where you are.

 

These five steps can help you get perspective when analyzing your organization, picking effective actions, and using your resources effectively!

 

We use these strategies and more every day with our clients – schedule a call  if you want to talk more about how the five-step strategy could transform your business and profits!

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Credit: youtube.com/watch?v=y9xRYglf308

Why GreenStep?

Here at GreenStep, we like to walk the walk when it comes to truly sustainable initiatives…but we also like to help businesses, nonprofits, and governments walk their own, authentic path as they transition to the green economy. By offering consulting services, training, certifications, and carbon software, we directly help businesses implement and track deep green initiatives, while providing gentle but firm kicks in the butt to keep you moving along the path to sustainability.

A surprising fact is that most businesses are only communicating 30% of all of their sustainability related activities (known as “greenhushing”). Many others are “greenwashing,” or exaggerating their sustainability achievements. What’s the difference, why is it important…and why greenstep around all the madness?

Greenwashing is, at this point, a fairly recognizable term and something your business does not want to be accused of. So let’s just decide here and now: no more greenwashing.

Greenhushing is a bit more nuanced, as it refers to businesses who purposefully under-report sustainability practices. Say what? Why would a business under report something like their sustainability practices, in a world full of instant news and Snapchat, where it is becoming increasingly important to be fully transparent and accountable?

After talking to thousands of businesses over the past several years, we know that the number one reason business owners pursue sustainability is because of the marketing and cost-saving benefits. Unfortunately, many of these same businesses that are implementing green practices, and even some that have achieved certification toward these goals, are guilty of this phenomenon of “greenhushing.”

Co-authors Xavier Font, Islam Elgammal & Ian Lamond recently suggested in an article published in The Journal of Sustainable Tourism, that this is due to a conscious effort by tourism operators to limit how much they are sharing and how they are sharing it. This is done to prevent a perceived disconnection that they believe exists between their own sustainability values or practices, and their customers, thereby mitigating a potential disconnection between what they think their customers want and their own views on sustainability. Talk about analysis paralysis. Is your head spinning too?

We can’t always align with everyone, and as businesses, we shouldn’t have to hold back on shouting to the rafters about our awesome sustainability practices. This isn’t bragging, it’s inspiring…and the business world needs a whole lot of sustainability inspiration right now.

Luckily, we know there is a better way: committing to sustainable actions, tracking progress, and being fully transparent about the process with your stakeholders. That’s why we originally chose the name GreenStep. We help businesses move in the right direction, one green step at a time.

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Portions of this article originally appeared on one of our other sites, Green Tourism Canada. https://www.greentourismcanada.ca/two-things-your-tourism-business-should-never-do/

Two Things Your Business Should Never Do

You have the best service, the best products, the most incredible experiences or the most amazing [insert your top customer benefits here.]

Sound familiar? Research by Xavier Font, Islam Elgammal & Ian Lamond, published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, has demonstrated that most businesses focus their marketing and communications exclusively on the features and benefits that they provide their customers. While these are things marketing expert Jacquelyn Ottman, in her book “The New Rules of Green Marketing,” suggests you should lead your message with, there is also a growing body of evidence that suggests you also need to find ways to connect with the values of your customers. For many businesses, this means digging into your operation and identifying the areas where you are making positive impacts, environmentally, socially, economically or culturally, collectively known as sustainability.

Yet, most businesses are only communicating 30% of all of their sustainability related activities, or “Greenhushing.” Many others are “Greenwashing,” or exaggerating their sustainability achievements. What’s going on and how can you avoid these two mistakes that are bad business?

After talking to thousands of businesses over the past several years, we know that the number one reason companies pursue sustainability is because of the marketing benefits. Unfortunately, many of these same businesses that are implementing green practices are guilty of Greenhushing.

Xavier Font et al. suggests that this is due to a conscious effort by businesses to limit how much they are sharing and how they are sharing it. This is done to prevent a perceived disconnection that they believe exists between their own sustainability values or practices, and their customers, thereby mitigating a potential disconnection between what they think their customers want and their own views on sustainability. Talk about paralysis by analysis!

Research indicates, year over year, that the demand for socially responsible and environmentally friendly business is growing.

We have often heard the arguments, “I don’t want to brag,” or, “we don’t want customers to poke holes in the things we aren’t doing well yet.” The problem is that in the communications void left by the businesses that actually are doing great green things, the fakers are able to gain more traction with their greenwashing. Don’t view sharing a compelling story of your sustainability achievements and goals as bragging, but rather as an inspiration for others to do the same, and a way to resonate instantly and deeply with the growing body of customers that care.

The best way to get around the “we’re not doing enough” concern is to admit that you’re on a journey, that you know you’re not perfect, and then highlight the things you’ve done already, the things you’re working on, and the things you’re planning to do in the future.

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We originally wrote this post for the Green Tourism Canada blog.