Learn about business sustainability and how to keep your environmental footprint small.
Learn how going paperless can help your business and the earth.
A sustainable business is good for all.
- Green-friendly business models help the planet and demonstrate responsibility to customers.
- Discover how going paperless can save significant amounts of money and reduce carbon emissions.
- Learn the pillars of sustainability and how you can apply them.
Why is business sustainability important?
The importance of business sustainability for people and the planet is apparent. Businesses can have a huge impact on the natural environment, individual people, and social systems, and they need to consider whether that impact is positive.
Sustainability is sometimes understood as a bonus to normal operations or a purely altruistic practice, but the reality is it’s also profitable. The most successful companies invest in sustainability for its positive economic impact.
The reasons range from non-sustainable materials becoming more expensive to a shift in consumer preferences over the last decade. Sustainable products are selling faster and driving huge growth according to Harvard Business Review. Purchasing behavior backs up what consumers are saying about their desire to buy products that are environmentally friendly and humanitarian.
While businesses can sometimes ignore social and environmental impacts to turn a quick profit, they miss out on short-term growth and long-term profits. Investors evaluate companies based on their ESG metrics — that is, their environmental, social, and corporate governance. High-scoring companies perform better in the market.
Asking whether your business is sustainable for people and the planet has become essentially the same as asking whether it is economically sustainable. Your business’s impact on people and the environment is no longer just for kudos. It’s a foundational business practice that is integral to success in the modern economy.
The human impact considers the welfare of individual people, whether they are employees, suppliers, or anyone involved in or influenced by the business. Human sustainability comes down to both human capital and human rights. Healthcare, skill development, working conditions, and living conditions are all important components.
Socially sustainable businesses consider social systems, with an eye toward the social components of running a business and equality in the communities impacted by the business. It can include social justice, urban design, preserving regional culture, and developing economic systems for marginalized groups.
This is the main thing people think of when they hear the word sustainability. Trying to conserve energy and natural resources in the process of running a business is key to environmental sustainability.
Finally, the fourth pillar refers to economic sustainability and financial performance, or minding the sustainability of the bottom line and turning a profit. However, financial sustainability shouldn’t come at the expense of the environmental or social aspects of sustainability.
4. Educate your team.
To implement real business sustainability, you’ll need to involve and educate members of your organization at every level. Start by ensuring that everyone understands the concept and purpose of sustainability, and then move to educating employees and partners about the specific goals your organization is trying to achieve.
An education initiative will be meaningless unless it involves a change in operations. Develop programs and take meaningful steps so that team members can immediately apply sustainability training.
Getting everyone on board involves listening too. The team members who are most involved in day-to-day operations might have the best ideas on how to achieve sustainability. Involve them in the planning process, and you might find the best ideas. They might even be the only ones who can really understand which sustainability practices your specific organization needs to implement.
Move away from paper.
Digitizing documents wherever you can, including processes like e-signatures, is one way to improve sustainability in an office environment. Digitizing with Adobe Acrobat Pro and Scan is as easy as scanning the documents, sorting and organizing them, and creating all new documents in a fully digital environment.
Protect and secure files safely.
Whether documents are stored locally or in the cloud, your documents are more secure when they’re protected by an application like Acrobat Pro. You can password-protect documents with high-grade encryption so the wrong people never access sensitive information.
Track and store documents.
Edit from anywhere, reducing your overall footprint and making collaboration easier, especially in remote working environments. Full-page editing functionality and powerful collaboration tools ensure that you can work with teams, stakeholders, and other parties no matter where they’re located. No more shipping documents and far less paper waste mean a more sustainable business environment.