Where Does Your Business Stand on Climate Action?
I recently had the pleasure of talking with David Brodwin, co-founder of American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), about the different journeys businesses take on their path to sustainability.
His organization got its start when he and his cofounder, David Levine, along with 50 of their like-minded business leaders, realized they all had compelling ideas to contribute towards a new, sustainable economy. During our conversation, David helped me appreciate the different stages that businesses travel through as they navigate what can be a daunting process of migrating one’s business on the path towards sustainability. Through his observations, I was able to better understand how to support business leaders in the various stages of this process.
Where are you on the path to sustainability?
So, where do you stand on climate change? You might already have sustainable practices in place, like recycling and LED light bulbs. Or perhaps you’re just getting started. Whatever the size of your organization or how much time you’re able to commit, it’s important to recognize your potential to make a difference. Read through the steps below to see where you are in the process and how we might be able to help you take the next steps forward.
Step 1. Inspire Others to Take Action on Climate Change
You are aware that you value natural resources and want to do more to positively impact the environment. You possess an authentic appreciation of why a more thoughtful use of natural resources would make your business more competitive. Your sense of investment in and commitment to these beliefs might be deepening your desire to talk with others about what you think. You are flexible and open-minded toward new approaches and seek out new information in order to find the best solutions to emerging challenges. You are ready to use your climate leadership to help to change the prevailing behaviors among your peers, employees, and customers. Now, it’s time to put your beliefs into practice. Read on to see how you might be able to take some of these ideas to the next level.
Step 2. Engage Others Inside Your Business On Climate Action
When business leaders tie their values to how they manage their organizations, they can have a meaningful positive impact on the communities and resources that support them. If you’re at this stage, you have a solid understanding of the potential impacts and opportunities of climate change. You are effectively communicating your company’s vision and engaging internal stakeholders such as your executive team, employees, and vendors in lowering the carbon footprint of your operations and supply chain. You may also be implementing true job purposing for your employees. This goes beyond recycling and energy efficiency programs – it means that you and your leadership team are integrating social or sustainability efforts into the actual work experience, which is much more effective for lasting engagement.
Step 3. Communicate your Climate Action Commitment Externally
Now that you’ve started to incorporate sustainable practices throughout your organization, you’re ready to engage your customers and external stakeholders. You value what consumers think and appreciate how their expectations and desires are changing regarding sustainability.
According to a recent survey, 91 percent of global consumers believe a company must “address social and environmental issues, and not just work to make a profit.” The survey also found that “52 percent of consumers will assume a company is not responsible unless they hear otherwise.” For these or similar reasons, you are facilitating organizational decisions and communications that show how you are integrating social values into your mission. Sustainability is part of your company’s brand message.
Step 4. Advocate for Policy Change
The times are changing, and climate action is no longer something companies should shy away from. In fact, businesses are increasingly embracing sustainability and making commitments to switch to clean energy. However, achieving the emission reductions necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change requires strong government policies. It’s important that government leaders understand that the business sector firmly supports climate action – that’s why 365 businesses recently signed a letter in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. You realize the value of speaking out, and are working boldly and publicly for policy change.
How does America Knows How help business leaders along this path?
America Knows How works with leaders of institutional business associations as well as companies. We realize that running a small business can be challenging, and that business owners who want to make a public commitment to climate action might need some support along the way. With that in mind, we provide tools and resources to help leaders, association members, and business teams who want to advance their climate action leadership, whether it’s by raising awareness of climate change, engaging employees to participate in sustainability programs, or letting their customers know how their business practices reflect their values. We also partner with organizations like ASBC to help business leaders raise their voices. Should a business owner want to join other like-minded business leaders and go to Capitol Hill, ASBC can support you by guiding your energy, efforts, and focus on relevant issues and productive actions.
What can you do right now?
Get on the Path with other like-minded leaders – sign up with America Knows How and take the next steps towards becoming a leader of an environmentally conscious business. Your customers will thank you.