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Being eco-conscious improves the environment in many ways. Lots of companies are also striving to go green, as they want to reduce their carbon footprint. So how to make your company more sustainable in 2020 and beyond?
Here at Packhelp we’re on a mission to make custom packaging more accessible to businesses around the world. We're also helping them to make the switch to more sustainable solutions.
But it’s not just us at Packhelp who are on this mission. And in this article, I’ll show you examples of how other companies and we are working for the right cause.
What Does Being Eco-conscious Mean?
The term “eco-conscious” means being “eco-friendly” or “going green”. As an eco-friendly company, we know our business processes can affect the environment. So we do our best to minimize that negative impact.
For example, we aim to:
- Adopt clean renewable energy
- Reduce pollution in the environment
- Support environmental programs and causes
- Reduce waste and packaging
- And use energy more efficiently
Your company can also equally work toward reducing its carbon footprint and becoming more sustainable. It’s easy, especially when using these practical tips I’ve learned over the years.
1. Partner with an NGO
Forging a healthy partnership with an NGO can help a company reduce its carbon footprint and accelerate shared value between both partners.
Companies have resources to fund projects, and NGOs have access to — and knowledge of — the best projects to target. These glaring differences make partnering so easy — unlocking more sustainable opportunities for your business in the future.
Case in point:
Marks & Spencer (M&S) has partnered with Oxfam to help raise resources, reduce unwanted waste, and improve the charity and brand’s image.
M&S often encourages its customers to return unused and old clothes to their many stores worldwide. Then Oxfam helps ship them across the world to poor people in need of clothing.
This partnership helps reduce the number of used clothes dumped at landfills — enabling M&S to successfully reduce its carbon footprint. Oxfam supports (new initiatives) and develops sustainability plans for M&S, too. In short, their healthy partnership fosters shared value between them.
Packhelp teams up with One Tree Planted
Our goal? To plant as many trees as possible.
One Tree Planted makes it simple for you to plant trees around the world. Meanwhile, on the other hand, we help companies and enterprises to switch their packaging to fully sustainable solutions.
And how can you contribute to our tree planting initiative?
Each time you design any paper or cardboard-based packaging in our editor, you'll have the chance to make your order forest neutral.
Based on your packaging type and quantity, we will automatically calculate the number of trees it consumes, and you'll have an option to plant this number of trees with a click of a button. For example, an order of 500 custom mailer boxes consumes two trees.
With us, you’ll have a chance to become "forest-positive". That means you’ll plant more trees than you consume.
2. People, planet, profit
The people, planet, profit — business concept applies to any company regardless of industry or services it offers. When your business is sustainable, it positively impacts either the people, the planet, or profits — or all three.
But most companies are yet to embrace a sustainable business strategy. Worse, they never assume responsibility for pollution — affecting people and the planet. And that leads to issues such as social injustice, inequality, etc.
Why is Sustainability Important?
Besides keeping our planet eco-friendly and curbing the above challenges, sustainability boosts the financial performance of your company.
According to the 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, about 66% of customers admit they choose brands with a sustainable promise.
This sentiment isn’t just reserved for wealthy consumers in major markets. Regardless of regions, income levels, and categories, most people are willing to pay more for sustainable goods if it ensures they remain loyal to their values.
Ways to Become a Sustainable Company
When your company becomes more sustainable, it automatically protects and maximizes the benefit of the people, planet, profits framework.
Packhelp helps take care of people, for instance. We respect the planet’s valuable resources and acknowledge its needs. And aim to produce profit without waste. You can do the same to improve your company's sustainability.
Here are smart ways to achieve this goal:
- Switch to eco-friendly materials. Instead of using harsh and toxic chemical cleaners, for example, switch to animal-free soaps or biodegradable sprays in the workplace to foster a healthy environment. Also, consider using eco-friendly packaging made from recycled and biodegradable materials. The materials help reduce the waste of natural resources for production — keeping the environment green.
- Embrace a remote work environment. Transitioning to working remotely makes a company eco-friendly. You save money, time, and energy. And reduce pollution as employees don’t need to drive to and from work.
- Use energy-efficient light options. High-efficiency lights are eco-friendly and they can effectively drive down the cost of electricity.
- Keep packaging weight and volume as low as possible. By reducing your package weight and volume, you invariably reduce your logistics costs. These include the number of trucks and containers needed to complete your delivery. Which in turn reduces CO2 emission.
- Use natural energy resources. Solar energy is a perfect example. It gives you the opportunity to cut down on energy costs for years on end while keeping the air clean.
Examples of some sustainable companies include:
- IKEA — Swedish furniture-maker, IKEA, invests in sustainable solutions for its businesses. It sources 50% of its wood from eco-conscious foresters.
- Unilever — Unilever has made sustainability part of its corporate identity. Its Sustainable Living Plan is a true testament to being an eco-friendly company.
- Patagonia — Patagonia is also committed to sustainability. It turns plastic bottles into parkas. And designs wetsuits from natural rubber.
- Lacoste — Lacoste protects wildlife as a way to promote sustainability. Their Save Our Species campaign aims to save endangered wildlife worldwide.
To enhance sustainability at Packhelp, for example, we use water-based ink material for our printing process. Remember water is a natural solvent. It quickly vaporizers during the printing process — making it an ideal eco-friendly option than toxic ink and toner cartridges. Also, at Packhelp, we strongly champion responsible employment. And use natural glue for even greener packaging.
3. Educate Consumers about Sustainability
In a recent survey of over 1,000 consumers, nearly 96% feel they can make a big difference with their own actions such as buying eco-friendly products, recycling materials, or donating to charities committed to sustainability.
This is great news.
However, consumers want more help in achieving this goal. So educating consumers about the need for living a “sustainable lifestyle” can help them change the world for the better.
From the survey, your company risks disappointing 88% of consumers if you aren't helping them improve their social and environmental footprint. So how do you educate your customers to become more sustainable?
- Start with how they use your product
Colgate educates its consumers on how to save water while brushing teeth. The broadcaster SKY, in collaboration with Ocean Rescue, is educating its consumers on the many benefits of cutting down plastic pollution. And Alexa, Amazon's digital assistant, is encouraging children to become polite.
- Do something new
Your goal is to help customers live a sustainable lifestyle — even if it means encouraging mass movements against consumerism, creating awareness of slave-free chocolate, using electric cars, or pushing for a plastic-free supermarket aisle. Find new ways to help your consumers become more sustainable while using eco-friendly products.
At Packhelp, we also strive to educate our customers.
We've added a list of Eco Properties where customers can easily learn about our products, their features, and which Eco Properties apply to which product.
For example, natural glue made out of organic ingredients. Biodegradable materials such as foil or paper that decompose to the very basic particles. And FSC® certified material made from paper pulp that’s sourced from responsibly managed forests and mills, etc. Learn more about them here.
4. Stay Smart. Be Honest
In 2021, it’s predicted that customers will spend more than $150 billion on fast-moving, sustainable products. They want to make a change in the environment — to foster a healthy planet.
Consumers today resonate strongly with products. So the key to making a great environmental impact with your physical, eco-friendly product is to find success with your customers first.
And that calls for honesty.
Embracing sustainability can drive success and massive business value. But whatever sustainable practices your company champions, don’t fake it. Or, better yet, don’t engage in corporate Greenwashing. It exploits consumers' growing interest in saving and caring for the environment.
Your customers can sniff out dishonesty in a cause, and a misleading effort to market your company as sustainable can damage your brand’s image. Forever.
Besides honesty, apply smart sustainability practices step by step. Natura Cold Press achieved its sustainable goals this way. The Poland-based company is currently a market leader in strengthening shots, cleansing detox, cold-pressed juice diets, among other 100% natural products.
Created in 2015, Natura Cold Press has revolutionized healthy food market. And now boasts a recycling station — becoming a sustainable company that betters the environment despite the use of plastic bottles.
How has this positively impacted the environment?
- Reduced pollution. Using thick plastic bottles, instead of shipping and using glass bottles, has helped them reduce the number of trucks dispatched on the road, which can pollute the ecosystem.
- Reduced plastic usage. Natura Cold Press created mobile refill points in major shopping malls. This move has encouraged consumers to reuse their plastic bottles. They leave behind the bottles for quick refills.
Natura Cold Press reminds companies that they have the potential to unleash a positive impact and influence consumer behaviour — as long as they stay smart and remain honest in the process of becoming more sustainable.
5. Small Changes You Can Make To Live a More Sustainable Life
Having an electric car or a solar-powered home can make a huge difference in the environment. But there are easier, smaller ways to go green.
- Shop your food online.
Shopping from the comfort of your home saves the environment. It actually lowers carbon emissions and reduces car trips to a major supermarket.
- Cut meat and dairy products from your diet.
Do this and you’ll reduce up to 73 percent of the individual carbon footprint. What’s more? Greenhouse gas emission rates will drop. And you’ll save wild land lost to agriculture.
- Eat your leftovers.
Food waste is a huge issue. Edible food is often thrown away in many homes across the world. To save the environment, eat your leftovers to cut down on food waste emerging from the kitchen.
Much like your personal life, your company should embrace patience and go small, especially if it aims to become more sustainable in the future. You don't have to apply all changes at once.
Take baby steps. And focus on the small changes that can help your company go fully green — like switching to energy-efficient bulbs, for instance.
The aim is to start on the easiest, smallest of habits. This will create a “going green” roadmap for your company. You’ll soon know what changes to make in each quarter from here on out. After that, stick to the plan.
Without a doubt, embracing sustainability for your company takes simple but life-changing eco-friendly initiatives. Think out of the box and you’ll discover new, practical ways you can make your company more sustainable.
Focus on the less complicated, inexpensive ways to achieve your objective. Pay attention to how large companies are making small differences to make the planet more eco-friendly. Then embody those changes to your company to make it more sustainable. It doesn't get easier than that.
So how do you implement sustainability in your company? Please let us know about your best practices!