How a Sustainability Strategy Can Distinguish Your Business from the Competition

In the sea of companies that exist in every sector today, being noticed is a difficult task. When searching through companies’ websites you see much of the same: a vast ocean featuring the same terminology, the same people and the same qualifications. Every company you sail past has glowing testimonials and is boasting the latest award no one’s ever heard of.

Companies need to do more to stand out from the crowd, especially those in the financial services industry, where competition to attract new business is particularly tough. Here Jason Skidmore, Chief Commercial Officer at 3 Step IT, delves into the growing trend of companies’ focus on their sustainability credentials in an attempt to sway potential customers.

Sustainability is not as difficult or costly to achieve as some may believe. Unlike client hospitality, it is not expensive to save energy or spend less on travel by leveraging remote meetings. In fact, it could save your company money. Making sure that lights are not left on overnight is not a difficult policy to implement, and may resonate with your clients more than you realise.

Sustainability is not only important to your clients, but it also contributes to the satisfaction of your employees. A growing number of employees look for sustainable practices in their place of work, and ensuring you’ve implemented these is a great way to boost employee retention and engagement. This, in turn, boosts the reputation of your company.

As well as being a popular trend to follow, sustainability is also becoming entrenched in law. From 2016, UK companies with more than 500 employees must report on their sustainability by law. Not only does this affect companies themselves, but it also applies to their suppliers – if they are not sustainable, then neither is the buyer.

While you’re reading this article, it’s likely that your competitors are already in the process of tightening their sustainability credentials.

This does not only apply to the UK. Similar, or often stricter, regulations are now in force across Europe. For example, companies in Sweden with more than 250 employees must submit more thorough sustainability reports than those in the UK. This trend is only set to expand, meaning that companies across the globe are growing sensitive to the environmental impact of their operations.

While you’re reading this article, it’s likely that your competitors are already in the process of tightening their sustainability credentials. Time is of the essence if you aim to differentiate yourself. When clients assess your practices, it is not enough to give a new, bespoke response. Assessment frameworks like Ecovadis consider the longevity of sustainability governance and implementation – sustainability is not something you should just consider for the future.

No matter how clueless you feel you are when it comes to environmental matters, there are easy ‘quick wins’ which can be implemented straight away. Replacing disposable cups with glasses and using recycling bins instead of just general waste bins are straightforward ways to reduce waste. Switching the lights off, making sure air conditioning is functioning properly, turning down heating rather than opening windows: these are straightforward ways to lower your office energy bill. You can implement simple, standalone practices like these within weeks. This isn’t where you should stop: then the next step is to develop a sustainability policy with a longer-term focus. A good example of this is a more sustainable perspective for IT equipment.

Replacing disposable cups with glasses and using recycling bins instead of just general waste bins are straightforward ways to reduce waste.

Usually, an office laptop is manufactured, shipped, used until it becomes too slow to be fit for purpose, then recycled, or perhaps thrown away. A new one can cost half a ton of CO2e to manufacture – that’s equivalent to producing around 6,000 500ml plastic bottles. Increasing the amount of IT that is reused, rather than recycled, could be the most impactful element of your sustainability policy.

A way to achieve this is to implement a circular economy model and remove, refurbish and resell your old laptop for a second life. Creating your own infrastructure to handle this is impractical, but IT lifecycle specialists can help. They can help make your IT more sustainable and reduce your costs, as you get a share of the equipment value they preserve.

Creating more sustainable business practices isn’t as difficult as you may think, and can help your company to stand out from the crowd. Begin by focussing on the small things your business can do and expand this by incorporating the circular economy. IT lifecycle service providers in the circular economy remove the complexity and security challenges of reducing e-waste. When trying to impress sustainability-savvy clients and potential employees, this part of your sustainability strategy could be what clinches the deal.

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