With increased public awareness of the issues surrounding sustainability, businesses are advised to start introducing sustainable initiatives to meet customer expectation and demand. Gareth Brown, market development manager at Duni, advises on what small changes can make a big difference when driving a more sustainable approach.
Today’s consumer wants to make what are perceived as the ‘right’ choices. We’ve all read the headlines and seen the television coverage, not to mention some of the harrowing shots of sea life as the impact of some of our disposable product choices is realised, and customers are now demanding better, greener options overall.
Those customers want the companies they deal with to deliver these options and to employ an ethical code of conduct that covers recycling and sustainability. This topic has crept up the agenda and now poses a real business risk to those who aren’t sustainably focused. So what changes can be made to address this issue for your business, regardless of the sector you operate in?
Cut down on unnecessary plastic
This is the big one at the moment. It’s a huge environmental concern and most people now realise that plastic is the main source of threat to our sea life. Given that, make one simple change. Everything from plastic vending cups to water dispenser vessels, straws to food takeaway containers, and even Christmas crackers, has an environmentally-friendly alternative so make the time and effort to pursue these lines and make your business purchases sustainable, when and where possible.
Reduce unnecessary waste
Again, if you make more sustainable buying decisions overall, you will lessen your environmental impact, producing waste that is largely recyclable. However, you can also reduce your waste by not printing out documents unless strictly necessary. A lot of companies now operate a paperless policy with reminders issued on emails for the recipients not to print them out. Similarly, if you work in an office environment, encourage staff to take glasses or cups to the water cooler and don’t provide a surplus of disposable cups.
Choose your suppliers wisely
Environmentally conscious consumers are most likely to choose a business that sources greener products over one that doesn’t give any consideration to the products it uses. Partnering with suppliers who have their own CSR policies in place allows you to demonstrate proof of your sustainability credentials. Here at Duni, we have a very clear CSR policy, Blue Mission, in place, which sets us tough goals for our environmental and ethical performances. Don’t be afraid to ask suppliers to provide certification and policy documents and, where possible, opt for green products.
Get your staff onside
When creating any sustainability guidelines, talk to the team and canvass opinion and suggestion. It’s always better to involve staff from the outset as it gives you a far better chance of driving any new initiatives through. Even better, make a member of the team responsible for overseeing the company’s sustainability agenda. If it’s an individual’s job, and responsibility is given to one person, it’s more likely to be prioritised.
Thanks to social media, customers now have more platforms than ever on which to express their views and any negative or destructive practices quickly fuel such online conversations. As a result, organisations can’t get away with unethical business practices or acting irresponsibly anymore, so adopting an ethical approach and sticking to it has never been more important.
Finally, to ensure sustainability strategies remain effective, make sure you reassess them on a regular basis. Block time out in your diary once a quarter, for example, to meet your team and discuss how your sustainability efforts are progressing, ensuring that they are being continually tweaked if they are no longer properly serving your business and its customers.
Duni is a leading supplier of innovative table top concepts combining napkins, table coverings, candles and Christmas crackers, supplying restaurants, hotels, caterers and the public sector. Our promise is to deliver goodfoodmood® to any occasion where people meet, eat and drink.
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