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Seven ways in which businesses can actually be more sustainable in 2020


Pavan Riyat-Ward, Managing Director of creative freelance network We are The Allies, has noticed a significant rise in clients focussing on sustainability. Here, she provides seven useful ways that businesses can actually do better. 

Northern based-businesses are going back-to-basics when it comes to sustainability in 2020. From simple steps such as reducing water waste, through to educational workshops on climate-change, brands are embracing this forward-thinking agenda whole-heartedly in the hope of making a positive change.

Sustainability is so much more than just being a ‘buzz’ label when it comes to good business and being sustainable as a lifestyle choice. This year we will see more retailers team-up with some of the UK’s best-known food and drink brands, to create new ways to eliminate unnecessary plastic and packaging, promoting special ‘refill’ points in stores.

The fashion and beauty industries are embracing vegan, ethical products and in the advertising sector, agencies are overhauling their working environment and running their own Carbon Literary courses, to educate their own staff and suppliers. In addition, we’re noticing an increase in employers encouraging ‘work from home’ days, so as to reduce carbon emissions. Being sustainable plays a vital part in our future.

Pavan Riyat-Ward, Managing Director of We are The Allies

Here are seven ways that you can really make a difference:

Staff engagement is key

You need to have a strong vision of what you are trying to achieve and ensure it’s supported by measurable goals. The leadership team has to be in agreement and ensure that a specific plan is in-line with the culture of the organisation. Everyone should be given a role to play, which should be relevant to their specific job. Everyone should embrace the changes or they just won’t work out.

Go green with the clean

Switching to vegan/cruelty-free products in the bathrooms and for cleaning can have a strong impact. Everyone is becoming (rightly) conscious about our climate so is switching to use refillable bottles to reduce waste, as well as compostable washing up brushes to ditch the plastic waste. Saving on water can also help hugely. Check the kitchen taps are turned off properly and that water is not being wasted.

Choose paperless

Many of our clients have become practically paperless over the past three months. They encourage staff and their own clients to follow suit and instead of spending on paper, split that money between sustainable charities or plough it back into training staff on sustainable issues. One of our allies who freelances followed suit and ended up buying trees with the savings.

Many businesses have changed admin processes and introduced iPads to reduce the quantity of printing and switched to recyclable stationery supplies too. Brands are upping their recycling game to now include on-site collection of glass, crisp packets, batteries and even pet-food pouches.

Walk to work or get on your bike

We promote wellness across and have noticed many big-name brands and businesses do the same. We’ve noticed an increase in more than 70% of our clients focussing on fitness and feeling good from within. Some of our clients host daily yoga and mindfulness sessions, with many savings schemes offered to those staff – including regular freelancers – who opt to walk or cycle to work.

Switch off

Even by switching off computers at the plug, turning off lights when no-one is in that meeting room or not boiling a kettle and wasting surplus water are all vital steps we’ve noticed many of our clients are taking to be more sustainable.

These all have an effect on reducing our carbon dioxide emissions from power stations and is obviously better for the environment – not to mention saving money in a savvy, sensible way.

Use renewable energy

From some brands and business’ opting to lease hybrid or electric vehicle cars through to switching their energy suppliers, things are changing with the way many creative businesses are sourcing energy. 

The government has huge targets for this year and it’s brilliant that so many of our clients are making huge headway in this area.

Focus on spreading the Sustainability word

Ultimately, people buy into people and word of mouth is key.

When it comes to attracting new business, it helps to be proud of sustainability changes you’ve already made and those you are planning to. Some of the bigger brands lose new business to smaller companies simply because their culture and beliefs aren’t consistent with modern trends

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