Earth Day 2017 – Saturday, April 22 – is an excellent time to reflect on your company’s sustainability strategy and to lay plans for the future – or to shift your current plans into higher gear. Of course, pursuing comprehensive, serious tactics that will achieve real results in emissions and waste reduction will require action not just on one day, but every day this year and beyond.
How can your organization develop an effective green program? The answer depends in part on your industry – the kinds of products you sell, where you deliver your goods or services, how your supply chain works, and where your employees are located.
But there are some common principles that can help guide you on the path to making sustainability part of your core approach to doing business. Here are a few considerations:
Develop aggressive goals
To meet the sustainability challenge, your business should push itself to dramatic change. Consider ways that you can transform your supply chain, significantly reduce or even eliminate the emissions to which your company is directly linked, and reduce the waste your organization makes.
At DHL, for instance, we have set our sights on wholesale change with the announcement of our goal to produce zero emissions by 2050, all as part of a comprehensive environmental program called GoGreen. Our plan applies both to our own activities and those of our transport subcontractors, and includes interim milestones to be achieved by 2025, including the achievement of green solutions for 70 percent of our pickup and delivery services.
Involve your employees
Employee engagement should be considered a key to success across your business, and that includes your sustainability strategy. To this end, you should consider how to involve everyone in the company in the process of developing and implementing green solutions. It is critical to make employees feel connected to and invested in a new, sustainable way of doing business.
Also, incorporate training and professional development programs that teach employees how to “work green” every day. Our new sustainability goals include a commitment to training and certifying 80 percent of employees as GoGreen specialists by 2025. We also plan to join with partners and our employees to plant one million trees every year.
Take a global, holistic approach
A truly effective green program should extend beyond the confines of your business to include vendors, customers and partners. It is critical to understand the environmental standards and goals of the organizations you work with, and to coordinate efforts where possible.
Your strategy should also extend beyond your own country. As U.S. businesses increasingly look abroad for new customers and growth, they should understand the global environmental impact of their business. Consider supporting the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda creates the foundation for achieving global economic progress within the Earth’s ecological limits, and in harmony with social justice. Determine how your business can align its operations and global plans with the UN’s goals.
How is your business recognizing Earth Day – now and into the future? Let us know on Twitter @DHLUS.