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Sustainability is good for business
Apr 21, 2024
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Exploring how sustainable practices drive profitability, innovation, and employee engagement.

Growing customer awareness, more regulation, and increasing demands from investors and banks means your business needs to take sustainability seriously—not just as a nice-to-have but as a core mechanic in your organization.

But these emerging pressures also represent an enormous opportunity. As a business owner, you can seize the opportunity of a shifting paradigm and see significant growth. Adaptable solutions are in demand, top talent wants an employer that takes action, and there’s untapped potential for innovation. Sustainability could be the key to the success of your business.

Let’s explore three tiers of action that could create a huge impact on your business: team-driven initiatives, measuring your footprint, and exploring new opportunities.

Team initiatives improve employee engagement

First, look inward at everyday life in your business. How are you, as an employer and an organization, making sustainable action part of your company culture? Starting with changes to your policy or programs engages your team in collective efforts and builds momentum for bigger brand action.

Teams are asking their employers to take climate action: 69% of employees want their companies to invest in sustainability efforts.

At Redbrick, we implemented a bike-to-work program that reimburses maintenance, gear, and bike purchases for employees who bike into the office. This initiative reduces our emissions as a team and promotes employee well-being. Encouraging action through initiatives like our bike-to-work incentive or other models like a volunteer program empowers our team to support positive social and environmental organizations.

While these programs facilitate independent action, as a team, we’re building a shared set of values. As a business, we’re learning how to take meaningful action and increase our team’s awareness—this can save you from making greenwashing mistakes down the road.

Policy change can take time and consultation, but small events can be impactful and easier to launch. This Earth Day, Redbrick held a used clothing and item swap at our monthly Chill Friday event (we get the Victoria team together for ping-pong, drinks, and snacks). This event promoted waste reduction and engaged our team in conversations about sustainability. But beyond its environmental benefits, our clothing swap supported a sense of community and was met with an enthusiastic response from our team.

You benefit from an engagement feedback loop when building sustainability into your culture: taking action on a shared set of values rallies your team, allowing you to take on bigger and more demanding challenges each time with more dedicated employee adoption. Sustainable policy and employer action are also becoming major recruiting draws, especially with the next generation of talent. By engaging employees with climate initiatives, you’re investing in the current and future success of your team.

Measure your impact to reach advanced sustainability goals

Measuring your carbon footprint is fundamental to creating an informed climate plan. Hard data will pave the way for more effective strategies and create accountability that demonstrates how you’re taking real action. More than 96% of S&P 500 companies now publish environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) reports.

We partnered with Mammoth Climate to tackle the carbon footprint of our team. Through this partnership, Mammoth Climate calculates the emissions generated by each member of our team, offers climate literacy, and offsets a portion of every individual’s carbon footprint.

Mammoth Climate helps organizations meet climate targets by empowering employee-led emissions reduction. It rewards employees for improving their climate literacy and making sweeping changes that reduce corporate emissions.

This partnership helps us underscore the urgency of addressing climate change and engages employees in climate goals. It’s an effective first step in carbon footprint measurement. Our next step is to measure the carbon footprint of our business as a whole. We’re currently in the early stages of another partnership that will build a comprehensive climate plan and provide specific measurement—so we can strategically target our emissions.

As a tech business, our footprint might be less obvious than a company that manufactures and sells a physical product. But software businesses still generate emissions.

A digital carbon footprint refers to the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted due to digital technologies and services, such as browsing the internet, streaming videos, sending emails, and storing data in the cloud.

Our carbon footprint includes the emissions produced by delivering data to our audience through websites, software, and other digital assets. Even if you’re not in the tech industry, digital technology is pervasive in business operations. Your digital carbon footprint is a crucial part of the full picture.

We developed Digital Scope in response to our own problem: how do we track our digital footprint as a tech-heavy business? Digital Scope is a custom software tool for businesses that need clear data on how their digital presence impacts their total carbon emissions.

Digital Scope uses embedded code to provide continual, accurate carbon footprint measurement of your websites, software, and other digital assets.

Tackling sustainability challenges within our organization led to the development of an entirely new, innovative, and profitable product. Measurement is key to building your sustainability plans but it may also inspire your next business idea when you encounter a problem that doesn’t have a solution yet!

Develop solutions that benefit your business and the planet

So, how to stand out in a sea of sustainability efforts? Take it a step further. Go beyond making your business sustainable and create a positive impact by restoring natural resources, social systems, or environments.

Regenerative businesses are built on a systems-thinking approach to protect human capital and public resources. The goal is not just to reach sustainability, a zero-damage approach, but to feed back into the community and environment. In the past, businesses saw ESG as a risky, costly burden but now it’s evolving into a key element of long-term growth.

"Globally, a new era of business strategy is emerging, one that is bold, proactive, and [...] rooted in the belief that businesses can contribute to restoring natural ecosystems and social equality."

Jill Doucette, CEO of Synergy. "Someone Like You," Episode 49

The business case for regenerative solutions is only growing. The benefits range from reducing costs, increasing revenue, attracting more talent, boosting employee productivity, and gaining investment. While sustainability is now a nonnegotiable for longevity moving forward, taking a regenerative approach can be a profit-driving part of your business.

If you’re interested in what a regenerative business could look like, check out the podcast Someone Like You, hosted by Redbrick’s CMO, Marco Pimentel. He dives into conversations with entrepreneurs and business owners who’ve gotten off the regular path to consciously (and successfully!) integrate sustainability into their business model for the sake of our planet.

Every effort matters. Start small, start imperfectly, but most importantly, start (and bring your team along for the ride).