Every year on April 22nd, Earth Day gives businesses of all sizes a chance to reflect on their sustainability strategies. While this year is no different, perhaps it should be. Instead of simply reflecting on your company’s green programs and planning how your company can implement or improve them, maybe it’s time to take bold and quick action.
Sustainability has become an important part of the mission and operations of businesses across industries and across the globe. In 2017, 85 percent of S&P 500 Index companies published corporate sustainability reports. Of the largest 200 global companies, 94 percent have specific sustainability targets. Small and mid-size businesses are also joining the push for conservation: a 2015 report found that 62 percent had some form of program to reduce emissions and waste, and to encourage recycling.
But while goal-setting and reporting are critical, results ultimately matter most. Only actual, measurable progress on efforts to reduce emissions and waste will impact the health of the planet and our shared future. What’s more, your customers – especially millennials – care about and will research your sustainability promises and results. They will look elsewhere if you don’t deliver. Keep in mind, too, that implementing green programs can help reduce risk and foster innovation.
Today, as companies increasingly look to grow and succeed by going global, it’s important to remember that there is no better way to make a global impact than by actually reducing your company’s carbon footprint. At DHL, for instance, as part of our comprehensive environmental program called GoGreen, we have set aggressive sustainability goals that entail dramatic change in order to produce zero emissions by 2050. We announced our results to date, which include measurable improvement in the Carbon Efficient Index, increases in first- and last-mile deliveries with clean technologies, and the planting of one million trees in 2017.
Even if your business is small or mid-size, there are steps you can take to make an environmental impact.
Make Your Supply Chain Green: If you obtain materials or goods from sources around the world, it is critical to make sure that you understand all the elements along your supply chain – and that your suppliers and shipping partners are committed to sustainability. Even if your company is small, chances are the network of vendors and suppliers you rely on is vast. Choosing the right partners who are themselves reducing emissions and waste can have a big effect on your environmental story.
Involve Your Employees: One of the quickest ways to make progress on the sustainability front is to get your employees directly involved. Seek their input on programs you can implement; encourage them to volunteer their time to local cleanup and recycling projects; and ask them to make recycling a priority in your facilities.
Embrace Technology and Innovation: Advances in technology are helping to drive more efficient business practices, while improving sustainability. You should research the ways in which technology and innovation can change your company. For instance, if your business includes a fleet of vehicles for service or sales, consider investing in hybrid vehicles. The up-front cost will help you realize savings down the road in fuel, along with a reduced carbon footprint.
What is your company doing this Earth Day to achieve results? Let us know on Twitter @DHLUS.