Consumers and employees alike are concerned with environmental issues on a daily basis. Some employees choose to only work for organizations that do their part to take care of the environment, while some consumers only want to support businesses that have sustainable practices. It’s important for all businesses to review their operations processes, manufacturing protocols and other policies to ensure they're environmentally responsible.
Start Dealing With Environmental Concerns
It’s important to begin dealing with environmental concerns as soon as they come to light. Some of the most common environmental concerns businesses contribute to and need to address include:
- Pollution from manufacturing and production.
- Waste disposal for single-use materials.
- Inadequate access to clean water as a result of business practices.
Work With the Experts
It’s critical to work with environmental agencies and external environmental consultants that specialize in helping businesses to ensure environmentally friendly practices. If you already have a list of environmental problems your business needs to address, an expert in the area can provide recommendations on how you can change your business practices to be more sustainable. External agencies and consultants can also do an audit of your processes and practices to determine where you can make improvements.
There are a number of resources your business can consult:
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a federal government agency that's charged with protecting human health and the environment. In addition to laws and regulations, they offer research and guidance on how to better take care of the environment.
- Your local Small Business Administration association or similar group can provide your business with details on which environmental laws you should abide by and can point you to external environmental consultants.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency with the Department of Labor that oversees work environments. They ensure that workers are safe and healthy.
Implement the Changes
Once you have a full understanding of the environmental issues your business is involved in, it’s important to implement changes to your business practices based on expert recommendations. This way, you can ensure that your business is being a responsible part of the community.
In addition, it’s vital to educate employees on how they can contribute to environmentally friendly practices in their day-to-day work tasks. Offer workshops or seminars that help employees to learn how their work can impact the environment and how they can change their processes to be sustainable and healthy.
Once your new sustainable practices are in place, be sure to include environmental stewardship into your company’s overall vision and mission. This way, you can ensure that every aspect of your business, from production to marketing, includes an element of environmental care. Some businesses choose to promote their environmental practices as a part of their marketing campaign to appeal to consumers that are sustainability conscious, while others simply implement those practices into their mission and company culture.
Collaborate with Your Community
The environmental issues definition involves the community your business is located in, as they're directly affected by your business’s choices. Be sure to make an effort to show the community that your business is taking steps to ward off pollution and waste. Issue a press release about your new mission and share details on how you're implementing changes that will positively impact the community.
Volunteer time to clean up any waste from your business that has ended up in the community. Create a business task force that's assigned community responsibility so they can review and act on any issues as they come up. You can also partner with other local businesses that share your mission to be more environmentally friendly to encourage other businesses to take the same steps.
- In order to reach a solution, the input of all stakeholders is essential.
- Involve the general public in the solution to help create a sense of ownership.
- Some environmental problems have long-term impacts and may require years of recovery efforts.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.