In order to have a sustainable future, companies need to become more eco-focused, and it’s primarily consumers that are driving this initiative. Consider that evolving government regulations, social pressures and an up-and-coming consumer market are highly focused on preserving the earth’s resources for future generations.
Generation Z (born between 1995 – 2007) will make up 31% of the world’s population by 2021 and their buying power may exceed $3 trillion; therefore, their deeply formed perceptions and beliefs about organizations being planet friendly and sustainable are causing a wave of eco-disruption across many industries. This has led to the push for plant-based food sources and veganism, the removal of plastic straws and bottles from many airports and dining establishments and plant-based clothing. They are letting companies know that if you’re not on the “go green” bandwagon, plan to get run over by it.
While startups have the ability to build their entire organization around being more sustainable and make the conscious decision to cater directly to the healthful instincts of Gen-Z, turning your current brand into a “sustainable brand of tomorrow”, can be a challenge that you turn into an opportunity. So, where do you start?
Create an eco-conscious product or service – If your company produces new products or services, convince R&D to focus on making each new output as earth-friendly as possible. An example is Natur-Bag®. With an experienced R&D team that is dedicated to product innovation and quality, they have created an entire line of bioplastics as an environmentally sustainable alternative to conventional plastics. Their products help organizations start zero-waste programs and sustain them.
Enhance your current product or service line with sustainability – No matter what you produce or who you serve, your organization can find more sustainable ways to do what you do. An example is the city of Berlin and their “Clean City” campaign. In the past, tourism came at the price of higher amounts of litter and grumpy residents upset with the filth strangers left behind. To help both groups, the city is offering free tours in exchange for one hour of litter-picking in a local park. Tourists receive a free guided tour filled with background information on the history of the Berlin Wall plus insights into life in the former German Democratic Republic. Then participants are equipped with brightly colored vests, gloves and garbage bags for the clean-up.
Build a sustainable facility or make your campus eco-friendlier – A good place to start is with your physical exterior and your components. You can make changes that save energy like auto-schedule your thermostat based on temperature and population mass. Consider window or glass treatments, solar or wind energy, cool walls and roofs, LED lights, dimmers and timers, etc. Open yourself up to unique ways that may go a bit outside of the box. Flagship worked with San Diego International Airport to help turn their jet bridges into a water conservation project. Water condensation was becoming trapped beneath the jet bridges and then dripping onto the cement and evaporating. Flagship and Ocean Blue Environmental Services installed 55-gallon drums to capture the water and re-purpose it for pressure washers, carpet shampooers and other janitorial services within the airport.
Start a recycling program - Most workplaces can easily set up a reduce, reuse and recycle program in their facility. It can be as small or large as you want, and part of that may depend on your workforce and the amount of support you have. An electric automobile manufacturer wanted Flagship Facility Services to help them create and manage a unique onsite recycling program at this client’s 6.5 million square foot manufacturing footprint. Thanks to Flagship’s facility expertise their trash-to-landfill levels are at record lows and 99% of its waste is recycled. You can follow these steps to help get your organization started.
Creating sustainable programs is good for you, your business and the Earth. Whether you are able to take big strides or if you have to start a bit smaller, if in the end we're all working towards helping our earth live a little longer then it's better for everyone.