8 Strategies for Balancing Business Returns With Environmental Stewardship
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) describes a company’s efforts to impact the surrounding community positively. One crucial aspect of a CSR program is to make the organization a better environmental steward, ensuring business operations don’t harm the land or its inhabitants. While focusing on balancing business returns with environmental stewardship, it’s critical not to overlook the legal foundation of your venture. For those considering forming an LLC as part of their strategy, exploring zenbusiness llc formation solutions could provide a streamlined, user-friendly approach to get your business off the ground legally.
Many business owners struggle to balance earning money and having a low environmental impact, but it’s absolutely possible — and can even be good for the company! Here are eight tips for making it happen.
1. Reward Workers for Helping the Environment
Retaining your best employees is a great way to maximize your earnings. In fact, if United States employers could retain every worker who actually ended up quitting, they would save $1 trillion annually! It’s much less expensive to hold onto strong employees than to recruit, hire and train new ones.
Why not combine rewarding workers with something that helps you meet your sustainability objectives? Try incentivizing your staff to help make the world a little greener.
For example, you can give people a paid day off to participate in a beach cleanup or organized tree planting. You can also donate to an environmental nonprofit in employees’ names when they reach their first anniversary with the company.
These actions make you a better environmental steward, boost employee retention and help employees feel recognized for their hard work. Your staff will be proud to be part of your company.
2. Measure Your Progress
To determine if your CSR strategy is working, it’s wise to measure the program’s effectiveness in several key areas over time. Doing so will help you identify areas for improvement and ensure your goals still align with the overall mission. There are multiple ways to track the success of your CSR program, and you’ll need to decide which ones align best with your business.
Nonfinancial metrics include customer and employee feedback. This qualitative data doesn’t involve any hard numbers, but it still paints a picture of how well your sustainability program is doing. What’s the general consensus from staff and stakeholders?
Keeping track of your business returns is another important, more quantitative way to measure your success. Keep tabs on your monetary statements to track your cash flow and project your company’s outcome. You can use short-term and long-term projections to help you manage your money and prepare you for financial shortages before they occur.
Once you’ve determined how you’ll measure your progress, you’ll need to report on it regularly. You can do this internally — to your staff — or externally to investors and clients. Over time, you can use this data to improve your CSR strategy.
3. Build Environmental Stewardship Into the Business Model
The best way to achieve sustainability is to make it a core value of your business. That way, realizing your plans will happen naturally without disrupting daily operations.
You should start your sustainability journey with your eyes wide open. That means you must set actionable, achievable targets pertaining to both your profits and the environment. Ideally, these objectives should support each other or even build on one another.
Here are some examples of goals:
- Reduce your carbon footprint by 5% within the next four years.
- Donate 1% of profits to environmental organizations every year.
- Bring in an extra $100 per month within the next six months.
Once you brainstorm your plans, decide how feasible they are and whether they align with your company’s values. Review them often to make sure they’re still relevant and that you’re staying on track.
4. Look for Simple Solutions
Thankfully, you don’t need to overhaul your entire business strategy or spend thousands of dollars to be environmentally friendly — implementing a CSR program can be remarkably simple. See if there are ways to adjust what you’re already doing to make your company more responsible.
For example, you could:
- Create a company recycling program and reward employees who recycle the most.
- Install low-flow toilets and faucets in the bathrooms.
- Swap incandescent bulbs for LEDs.
- Volunteer at roadside cleanups.
- Create scholarships for students in need.
- Encourage remote work.
- Purchase green office supplies for your staff.
These may be simple and cost-effective solutions, but they can make a big difference for the surrounding community.
Educating staff about your organization’s environmental goals is vital for the whole team to be on the same page. In addition to emphasizing sustainability in your company’s mission statement, you should also hold periodic training sessions to refresh employees on the topic.
5. Engage Passionate Workers
Some of your employees are likely very motivated to be socially responsible and help the environment. Seek them out and ask them for help supporting your sustainability objectives. You can set up an ongoing CSR program, committee or specific projects for them to work on.
This approach to environmental stewardship holds the company accountable from the ground up. It also gives ambitious employees an outlet to fulfill their personal and professional goals.
6. Identify Stakeholders’ Needs
Most people want to support companies whose values align with their own, and the research backs this up. In one study, 60%-70% of consumers said they would pay more for sustainable packaging. Many people also prefer working for eco-conscious companies. Going green can help you reduce turnover and stay fully staffed.
Your environmental objectives should meet the needs of your customers, investors and employees. It’s good for the environment and your profit margins alike.
7. Build Strategic Partnerships
Team up with businesses that share your goals and values. You don’t necessarily have to put boots on the ground and get directly involved in conservation, but you can probably find a spot for your business on the board of directors or take on another high-level position.
For example, you can partner with a nonprofit that protects wildlife or cleans up polluted waterways. Doing so will benefit the environment and fill a need within your business. When stakeholders see your name associated with the environmental group, they’ll understand that your business has strong sustainability values.
8. Focus on Your Purpose
At the end of the day, you should always come back to your vision for the company. Are there purposeful reasons behind all your business decisions? Are you acting in accordance with your desire to be a better environmental steward?
Defining and stating your company’s purpose helps the whole staff understand how their jobs contribute to the cause. Revisit the company’s mission statement often to let it guide your choices.
Striking a Balance
Making money and protecting the environment don’t have to be mutually exclusive goals. In fact, they can complement each other. By making sustainability part of your company’s mission, rewarding employees for participating in CSR, keeping your eyes on your purpose and tracking your progress, you’ll benefit the surrounding community and your business returns.