Sustainability is good for both environment and business

Thibault Dousson, Services and Solution Lead, Lenovo META explains how sustainability became a foundational pillar to building a successful business and tips for incorporating more sustainable practices in the office and beyond

Local governments across the Middle East have introduced a variety of initiatives to encourage companies to implement sustainable practices, but many neglect planning to make a positive impact on the environment as it can be challenging to see immediate value. With World Environment Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time for businesses to reflect on their ESG goals and assess the best ways their company can make a difference when it comes to combating environmental challenges and gaining rapport with their customers.

In doing so, businesses small and large will realize sustainable practices don’t just benefit the environment, but also their business itself – for example, it’s just good business to reduce your energy consumption and when you do, you can reduce your bills.

Furthermore, consumers are increasingly supportive of climate-positive initiatives and want to support companies that do good in addition to making purchases that help the environment. Recent studies have shown that 76% of respondents across the UAE, KSA and Kuwait agree that sustainability efforts of a company are likely to positively impact their choice in buying their products, while 68% of respondents said that they would pay more for a product if the company selling it demonstrated sustainable practices. Therefore, companies must adapt their business to accommodate the growing demand from consumers to ensure continued long-term success.

Here are 5 steps to making sustainability a priority and integral part of your business –

1. Implement Sustainable Packaging
Reduce packaging or use recycled/reusable packaging where possible. In recent years, an increasing number of companies – from small start-ups to large corporations have made the switch from single-use plastic to more environmentally friendly materials in an effort to reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint. At Lenovo, we foster a more circular economy, reducing the usage of virgin materials in products and focusing on renewables. Seek out FSC certified packaging, look for plastic-free options, and if purchasing in large quantities, ask about bulk packaging to minimize waste.

In addition to the benefits of sustainable packaging, the optimization of the supply chain – choosing a mode of transportation that can help reduce carbon footprint such as ocean freight or cargo flights that use sustainable aviation fuel – can make a difference.

2. Seek out More Sustainable Alternatives
Buy and use technology and products that prioritize sustainability. When in the market for new office necessities, be aware of recycled materials and components and make a conscious effort to seek out products that may be a more sustainable option.

Also, beware of “greenwashing” – when companies market their products to be more environmentally friendly than they actually are. With consumer demand exploding for more sustainable products, many marketers have pivoted their strategy to make theirs more appealing and at times, can over-state the true “green” aspects of said product – therefore, businesses and consumers alike should look for the details and a break-down of specifics behind every claim, particularly as new innovations emerge.

On that same note, companies should do their part and be careful on wording and use of terms like “environmentally friendly.” By its nature, technology and other related products are not friendly to the environment, but making significant efforts to reduce impact is what businesses should look for in vendors. Stay vigilant.

3. Reduce Emissions When Possible
Work remote, when possible, to reduce emissions caused by commuting. With more and more companies – from large enterprises to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) announcing their return to office – either in a hybrid or full-time capacity – many folks are back to spending a good chunk of their day driving to and from their jobs. If you and/or your employees have to commute, encourage alternative modes of transportation that can help reduce one’s carbon footprint: carpooling, public transportation, and low emission/zero emission cars are all great options to explore if compatible with your commute or budget.

4. Support Causes to Make an Impact
Donate to an environmental organization or cause that aligns with your brand. When thinking of the best ways for your business to support the sustainability cause, consider supporting an area where your brand can make an impact (i.e. automobile industry helping cut down emissions, CPG companies investing in recyclable packaging, etc.). If needed, also look for vendors who can assist or offer services to offset carbon emissions (such as Lenovo’s CO2 Offset Services, which has recently been expanded to the Middle East) especially for larger projects that need to be outsourced.

Ensuring an organic fit between your business and your cause will not only help the environment but also position your brand as an authentic partner in the collective effort to fight for sustainability.

5. Encourage Mindful Habits
Prevent over-consumption and wasteful practices. Regardless of how large or small your organization is, it’s key to reduce unnecessary waste. Incorporating simple practices such as encouraging the use of refillable water bottles, going paperless, or simply turning the lights off after leaving a facility may seem ridiculous to some but over time, can make a difference.

Lastly, encourage employees to bring forward their ideas for increasing sustainability in the office and beyond – that way no stone is left overturned or overlooked. When united with their body of employees, businesses are bound to establish a stronger response to combat over-consumption and waste.

Saving the planet is not just good for the world, it’s good for business – reflect on your sustainability goals to set your business up for long term success that makes a lasting impact.