Sustainability 101 – Questions and Answers

I am an avid volunteer. One of the organizations I volunteer with is Startup Canada. I am a #StartupChat Advisor with them. Every Monday and Friday, #StartupChat Advisors depending on their area of expertise, participate in discussions moderated by Startup Canada sponsored by various organization with the objective of transferring knowledge free of charge on various topics to a twitter audience. Check them out.

On September 24, 2019, I participated in one of such discussions. Since the topic was on Sustainability and I am passionate about educating people on sustainability issues, I decided to share the questions and my answers here.

1.How can building sustainability into your business impact your bottom line?

a. When you integrate sustainability into your existing offerings, you send a message to your clients that you care about them, their community and the environment you do business. b. You build lasting relationships with your clients. c. You are able to discuss issues and implement projects that affect them and they are able to discuss your business to their network in addition to the products or services you offer. d. In doing that you open doors to more opportunities to improve your market share and increased profit margin. e. It is also a business risk mitigation measure that keeps your customers loyal to you.

2. What are some examples and best practices of sustainability for startups and emerging businesses?

a. Creating sustainability programs /projects around your business and products.
b. Identifying an environmental, social or health issue that you are passionate about and tie your product or service to that. Example: A waste project to reduce paper waste or an energy project to minimize energy usage etc. ; organizing/participating in a tree planting event; and participating in a community initiative to provide for the less privileged.
c. Sustainability reporting- Showcasing all your sustainability initiatives to your clients, network and the public.

3. Why should entrepreneurs engage employees in sustainability?

a. You give your employees a purpose or a reason to come to work that is not linked to remuneration or money. b. You give them a feel good activity that makes them feel they are contributing to the well being of people around them and the environment depending on the activity.
c. It promotes employee retention because you make your employees feel good about themselves

4. How can employers raise awareness about sustainability with employees?

a. Create awareness with lunch and learns sessions with sustainability experts. b. Company can put out information via office boards, newsletter, blogs, memos etc. c. Can be included in team building activities etc.

5. How can entrepreneurs embed employees in maintaining sustainability in the long term?
Develop programs around sustainability issues of interest and integrate it within your core business processes.

6. How can business owners build sustainability knowledge and competence amongst employees?

a. Once an issue is identified and a project has been developed and is being implemented to address that issue, depending on the issue, you could look into going the certification route. For example For example, If it is a sustainable building initiative, they may want to follow the path to getting a Leed status. b. You can keep abreast of community initiatives going on in their community. c. Partner with an organization that is into sustainability and has programs and projects you are interested in and align your organization with them. d. Have lunch and learns sessions with sustainability experts. EnvironFocus can help you design and implement lunch and learns. e. Company can send out information via office boards, newsletter, blogs, memos etc. f. Can be included in team building activities etc.

7. What are some useful approaches to make every employee a sustainability champion?

Find out what your employees are passionate about and have them run with it

8. How can you show employees that sustainability is about more that environmental protection
I missed answering this question during the discussion, but it does deserve a full post.

9. How can business owners make sustainability impactful inside and outside their business?
a. Business owners should be champions of causes or initiatives they decide to pursue. b. Showcase your wins to the public

10. Where can entrepreneurs go to learn more about building a sustainable business from day one?
Hire a sustainability Consultant that has the education and experience .Connect with EnvironFocus

11. What is your final tip for entrepreneurs looking to be leaders in sustainability?

Pursue a sustainability issues you or your employees are truly passionate about.

Obie Agusiegbe
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