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10 ways to become a more Ethical and Sustainable Business

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10 ways to become a more Ethical and Sustainable Business

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We may be overwhelmed with all things Covid at the moment, but the other looming issues are not going away – we need to find ways to heal the short-term business pain and guard against the longer-term challenges.
 
Here are 10 reminders of ways businesses can help protect society and the environment, whilst still working to preserve a healthy bottom line.

We may be overwhelmed with all things Covid at the moment, but the other looming issues are not going away – we need to find ways to heal the short-term business pain and guard against the longer-term challenges.
 
Here are 10 reminders of ways businesses can help protect society and the environment, whilst still working to preserve a healthy bottom line.

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10 ways to become a more Ethical and Sustainable Business

  1. 1. 10 WAYS TO BECOME A MORE ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS Sarah Duncan, Author of The Ethical Business Book
  2. 2. We may be overwhelmed with all things Covid at the moment, but the other looming issues are not going away – we need to find ways to heal the short- term business pain and guard against the longer-term challenges. Here are 10 reminders of ways businesses can help protect society and the environment, whilst still working to preserve a healthy bottom line.
  3. 3. one: VIEW THE BIGGER PICTURE • A good place to start is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by United Nations Member States in 2015. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  4. 4. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
  5. 5. ACTION: Review the SDGs and take inspiration in terms of areas your business can make a difference. If they feel a little overwhelming, check out The Good Life Goals which provide a more accessible interpretation that can help be applied by anyone.
  6. 6. WORLD BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - GOOD LIFE GOALS
  7. 7. two: CONSIDER YOUR COMPANY’S MORAL PURPOSE • There is much talk about purpose in business these days, but what does it mean? • In short, your moral purpose should be greater than the products you make or the services you provide. • 81% of millennials think a successful business needs to have a genuine purpose that resonates with people (beyond simply making money).
  8. 8. Establishing a Moral Purpose
  9. 9. ACTION: Think about how your business can have a more positive impact on the world. What problems or needs in the world are you capable of solving, whilst still operating a successful business?
  10. 10. three: COMMIT TO AN ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL + ECONOMIC BUSINESS MODEL • As originally outlined by John Elkington in his Triple Bottom Line business model, sustainable businesses need to measure success not only from Profit, but through achievements that protect People and the Planet. • Financial reporting has internationally recognized frameworks. Non-financial reporting is less established and therefore less clearly and consistently measured.
  11. 11. ACTION: A good starting point is to re-imagine what business success looks like for your organization - establishing tangible initiatives and measurement criteria for Serving Society and Preserving the Environment, that sit equally in terms of importance alongside the monthly financial report.
  12. 12. four: UNDERSTAND YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT • Simply put, a carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of your activities – directly and indirectly.
  13. 13. Reducing your carbon footprint. Carbon dioxide absorbs and traps heat. The more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the warmer the planet.
  14. 14. ACTION: Understanding your environmental footprint (including your supply chain) allows you to set in place clear actions and goals to reduce this. There are now many resources (including basic online carbon calculators) and an array of specialists that can help you achieve ‘net zero’.
  15. 15. five: ADOPT A MINDFUL BUSINESS CULTURE • Grand sustainability strategies work only when they are fully understood, and everyone buys into them. This requires a cultural business shift.
  16. 16. ACTION: Internal action should be encouraged, driving sustainability from within. Green teams can be established to champion Reduce, Reuse, Recycle initiatives. Education programmes can help effect long-term behavioural change (both in the office and at home).
  17. 17. six: DEVELOP A CIRCULAR APPROACH TO PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT • Innovation should be considered in a more circular way. Moving away from the linear approach to product development of Take-Make-Waste, to a circular approach.
  18. 18. Circular (lake) Economy
  19. 19. ACTION: Consider how you can adopt a more circular approach to your business and throughout your supply chain.
  20. 20. seven: IDENTIFY YOUR CONSCIOUS CONSUMERS • Mindful consumerism is on the rise. If your company is falling short on ethical and sustainable behaviour, you could be losing (or set to loose) valuable custom. • Customers may appear loyal right now because your product is good quality, competitively priced and convenient for them to obtain – so they keep buying it. But with dubious ethical credentials and a lack of clearly defined purpose, they may be becoming increasingly conflicted or compromised (even building resentment with each purchase). As soon as someone else enters the market displaying better and greener business practices, it will be an easy switch.
  21. 21. “Every pound spent is a vote for how we want to live.” Mary Portas
  22. 22. ACTION: Find out what ethical issues are important to your customers and fuel these passions.
  23. 23. eight: BEWARE OF GREENWASHING • Marketing exists to persuade customers to buy products. But conscious consumers are on the lookout for false or embellished ethical marketing claims, so they will be exposed.
  24. 24. Greenwashing
  25. 25. ACTION: It’s important to always: Check the facts; Clarify the details; and Challenge like a customer. Establish not only if legally you are able to make a particular marketing claim, but also morally whether it is wise to do so (are you overstating; missing out an important component; or glossing over something in order to mislead people?).
  26. 26. nine: PAY IT FORWARD • Who in the world would most benefit from your products or services, but cannot currently afford them? Is it time to give some of your goods or services away for free for the benefit of society? • There are many businesses now adopting a pay it forward principle – designing a business model that can use healthy sales from regularly customers to support free products or expertise for those less fortunate.
  27. 27. ACTION: Consider rethinking the old Buy One Get One Free marketing ploy, to Buy One GIVE One Free – helping society and engendering a sense of good will and purpose with your customers.
  28. 28. BOGOF Reinvented Buy One, GIVE One Free
  29. 29. ten: ATTRACT GOOD COMPANY • Good business attracts good company (and strengthens ethical and sustainable supply chains and partnerships). • No one business can do it all alone, it needs healthy collaboration with like-minded organisations.
  30. 30. ACTION: Seek out like-minded companies, business organisations, ethical industry specialists, and trade bodies. Forget the old secrecy and competitiveness, embrace collaboration to champion change.
  31. 31. MORE FROM SLEEPING LION / EXPERT ADVICE: Ethicalbusinessblog.com / Sleepingliononline.com / Expertadviceonline.com

Editor's Notes

  • 195 counties
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    CONSCIOUS CAPITALISM FIELD GUIDE
    NOTE - BIBLIOGRAPHY / ETHICALBUSINESSBLOG.COM
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    EXERCISE (CHAT): WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO REDUCE YOUR OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT? NET ZERO IS ACTUALLY REALLY COMPLICATED – needs Greenhouse Gas Renewal. Carbon Trust article.
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