The concept of business sustainability has quickly accelerated from a progressive, niche concept to a one regularly touched upon in c-suite offices around the world. In 2017, we saw companies grapple with the idea of balancing their growth and their obligations to key stakeholders with their obligations to achieve—or at least strive to achieve—social and environmental responsibility.
Business sustainability is often referred to as the triple bottom line: one where businesses look to minimize their impact on (1) the environment, (2) their society or community and (3) the economy. Sustainable businesses are often known for their progressive policies; for drawing a line in the sand at what they are, and aren’t, willing to compromise to turn a profit. Many people may think of these types of companies as “green”.
A recent example of business sustainability by a leading brand is McDonalds. They recently made the headline-grabbing announcement that by 2025, they want to have 100% of its package derived from renewable, recycled or certified sources. Plus, recycle will be available in every single restaurant. Consider their leap forward: currently, about 50% of McDonald’s packaging come from renewable sources, and only 10% of its restaurants currently recycle.
Trends in business sustainability
McDonald’s isn’t alone in its desires to create a better (and cleaner) community impact and respond to customer demands for change. There are some clear trends occurring in sustainability that are difficult to argue. A few of them are:
- Science is getting harder to challenge. Extreme weather events, and the growing evidence of negative impact caused by humans is becoming increasingly difficult to challenge. Floods, hurricanes and droughts are devastating, period. But they also can cause a ripple effect across the environment, local communities and the economy.
- The benefits of sustainability are widely accepted. Sustainability isn’t just a “feel good” community trend; it’s creeping into board rooms and investment strategies, too. The idea that companies need to innovate for the long-term and acknowledge climate risks is a major pivot from prior years, one we expect to see more and more.
- Companies are taking a public, moral stance. Sure, companies can use advertising to promote their products and services all day long. But something took a turn this past year, when more companies decided to put their foot down on key issues, including the environment. Brands are coming forward to declare who they are and what matters to them. In turn, they’re pivoting from the “be everything to everyone” mind set to attracting customers who care about similar issues. We even saw this in action at the Super Bowl.
Recycling as part of your business sustainability strategy
No one said doing the right thing for the environment is easy—but it’s Recycle 1’s job to make it easier on businesses to achieve success. This is what we do: we partner with businesses of all sizes to fold into their sustainability programs and help them streamline their recycling and waste management strategies.
If you don’t have a business recycling program, or if you suspect it could be more robust, that’s a good place to start. It’s time to challenge the status quo—where else can you be doing more? How can you make your process more efficient? How can you communicate your goals and strategies to your team? This is where we come in to help.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you recycle, and how we can help to power your sustainability strategies this year and beyond.