Making Sustainability a Priority in Your 2024 Business Planning: Why It Can’t Wait a Minute Longer
As we set our sights on 2024, don’t put off sustainability planning until the new year.
It’s likely been on your mind for some time, perhaps you’ve made some small steps, or perhaps you’ve bumped it down the to-do list a few times already. Which one sounds like you?
Are you needing to start implementing or ramping up sustainability in your business strategy for the coming year? In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons why sustainability should take centre stage in your 2024 planning and the concrete steps you can take to integrate it effectively.
Why Sustainability Can't Wait:
1. Getting and keeping the best staff
Take a close look at your hiring practices. Consider how sustainability aligns with your company’s core values and mission. Highlight your sustainability initiatives in your recruitment process to attract individuals who resonate with your vision. These are the types of staff likely to be more committed and stay longer, because they believe in the company and what you do.
Our good friends at Treeline Urban Resort always hire based on ‘heart’, they believe that technical skills can be taught, but values alignment is the most important factor. As a result, the vast majority of their staff have been around since the hotel opened its doors and still love their work there.
2. If your investors aren’t asking about this already, it won’t be long!
How transparent are your sustainability policies and actions? Ensure that you’ve put your sustainability efforts and their impacts clearly into investor proposals and what’s online. Make sure it’s solidly implemented on the ground as well – as you may have heard me say that PFSEA are about helping you ensure your sustainability policy is more than just words on a piece of paper or link on your website. Think about obtaining third-party sustainability certifications or working with PFSEA 😉 to inspire investor confidence.
3. Guiding or responding to stakeholder expectations
4. Taking Genuine Sustainability Actions
Move beyond superficial sustainability efforts. Define clear sustainability goals and create a roadmap for their implementation. Consider reducing single-use plastics, embracing energy-efficient practices, and implementing waste reduction programs. The most effective ways to make this happen are by engaging your team and increasing their awareness and participation in applying solutions.
5. Measuring and Reporting Outcomes
6. What’s your company culture?
7. Do you have a wellbeing policy?
One of my favourite questions. Continuously track employee satisfaction and well-being through surveys and feedback mechanisms. Talk about wellness, create flexible work arrangements within the company structure, and resources for stress management to ensure a balanced and content workforce. We’re in the era of the thinking and creativity economy, yet we’re operating as if we’re making widgets where time and output are correlated, but they aren’t anymore. The 40-hour work week is ineffective, so how can you make things better, improving your company’s effectiveness whilst taking care of your people?
8. Ignoring Sustainability Won't Make It Go Away
Understand that neglecting sustainability doesn’t make the challenges disappear. Instead, it exacerbates them, potentially leading to even more significant problems in the long run. Just like Blockbuster ignored the subscription model that made Netflix the dominant entertainment provider, ignoring sustainability is a fast track to obsolescence.
The Rewards of Sustainability: Insights from my recent panel discussion at No Vacancy Expo in Sydney:
Our panelists shared their experiences of how integrating sustainability into their business operations had led to significant rewards. These benefits went far beyond environmental conservation, encompassing aspects such as increased productivity, reduced energy costs, and a more positive impact on profit, work culture, staff satisfaction, and overall well-being.
The Bottom Line:
How’s your staff turnover rate? Are your best people leaving in search of more meaningful work, better work-life balance, or due to burnout? A sole focus on profit may be taking its toll and, ultimately, catching up with you.
Incorporating sustainability into your 2024 planning is not just an option; it’s an imperative. By embracing sustainability now, you can enhance recruitment, meet investor and stakeholder expectations, and foster positive changes in your business’s culture and bottom line. You don’t have to have it all done today, but you need to start to secure a more sustainable and prosperous future.