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Top 10 tips on how to embed sustainability into your business

Our recent Deep Dive into embedding sustainability into your business, brought together representatives from three very different businesses Fresha, John Wainwright and Stephens Scown, all of whom are deeply committed to sustainability issues and Aimee Higgins from Couch to Carbon Zero an organisation who works with businesses to become more sustainable. The webinar was hosted by our Green Team lead, Kieran Hancock.

As Aimee said in the webinar “As a business leader it is really difficult, you are a subject matter expert, you are running your business and now you also have to save the planet – where do you start, who can you trust and what does good look like?”

Below are 10 top tips from our contributors on how to embed sustainability within your business:

  1. Lead with passion, but involve all the workforce where possible – identify their drivers and what they are interested in. It may start as a top-down initiative, but for success it is vital that this process is as collaborative as possible to bring people on the journey with you.
  2. No idea is too small or stupid – empower people to come up with ideas, make sure that their ideas are taken seriously so that more people feel comfortable in coming forward. Equally brainstorm the ‘anything is possible’ – even the most ‘out there’ ideas can inspire a solution to a problem.
  3. Encourage a culture of being open and honest – where people are not afraid to fail. Ideas may not come to fruition, or not work out, but that is ok – we are all on a journey and it won’t be a smooth ride all the way.
  4. Explain the why – why are we doing this, what is in it for them, why should they care / get involved. This as important as ‘what are we going to do’. Getting experts on sustainability to speak to groups of your workforce at ‘lunch and learn’ sessions (or similar) can assist in this.
  5. Think about following a framework – whether that is going fully down the B-Corp status route or Net Zero or something else, like engaging with Couch to Carbon Zero – this can help make it more ‘real’ and assist in moving the whole project from being the remit of the sustainability team to getting the whole organisation involved.
  6. Break required actions down into bite sized chunks – people can get overwhelmed and feel as if nothing they do can make a difference, when in actual fact anything we can do, however small, is better than nothing and the more of us that take little actions, the more powerful the impact.
  7. Equip your teams to take action – don’t just make it an information relay, give employees goals that are easy to achieve and that they can also take forwards in their own lives.
  8. Goal alignment – Where possible align solving sustainability issues with business-as-usual challenges – then it is a win win!
  9. Give people permission to spend time on this – make it part of your appraisal process, so that your employees can see this something that the business is committed to and is important.
  10. Create a buzz – it is difficult to cut through the noise of everything you have to communicate when running a business. To get people interested and keep people motivated on sustainability think about how you are interacting with your teams – how are you going to get people to join in, how can you excite them? Introduce teasers to get people thinking, open up conversations on chat channels, offer prizes for those employees who nail actions or come up with ideas, use a variety of media and channels to speak to people, encourage social events and share success stories.

“Action is needed and whilst many businesses have been creating strategies and targets, action is now needed. Just do something, everything counts. The planet is in trouble and collectively we have a lot of power – so let’s crack on” – Aimee Higgins, Couch to Carbon Zero.

You can find the full webinar recording here:

To find out more about how Couch to Carbon Zero can help your business, visit their website

We have produced other webinars in this series follow these links to check them out: Deep Dive into net zero for businesses & Deep Dive…eating the carbon elephant

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