Sustainability is a broad term, and one that is probably at risk of ‘burn-out’ in the retail sector the world over. Brands, retailers and suppliers are increasingly aware of the necessity to be formulating their own position around sustainability due to their respective stakeholders. Clearly, this is mainly driven by the end consumer and the need for a much deeper connection between a particular product/brand and the values that they stand for; they need to be purpose driven.
However, it is often easy to get lost in a ‘sustainability haze’ and not fully understand or be able to articulate what it means to both you and your organisation. Is there a cohesive sustainability strategy? Is it relevant and personal to all the organisation’s stakeholders? Is it simply someone putting up a sticker over a bin for recycling the staffs’ lunch containers? Is that sufficient? Are we sustainable? This confusion should not be surprising. The list of topics that fall within this category are many and understanding how one can change the world looking at this list relative to what you and your company do on a day to day basis is perhaps beguiling. From conflict minerals, material wastage, women’s rights, child labour, water filtration (700 million people do not have access to clean drinking water), climate change, lighting use, energy efficiency, single use plastics, plastic fibres to ‘one for one’ schemes, circular services (re-cycling) and brand activism, the list goes on.
The point is that any change is good. Making an impact on our earth and society, however small, as an organisation can only be a good thing. But, it needs to be personal. It needs to resonate with your company’s staff and is something that makes them engage in this change. The interesting part of this puzzle is that ultimately companies that ‘do good’ (and there is a purpose driven aspect to what they do), actually generate higher profits ultimately even with the initial capital investment/cost required at the outset.
So where to start? All we need to do is take little steps to make a change and this starts with you, as an individual. It does not need to be a ‘moon shot’ moment (an audacious statement to change the world in a big way tomorrow); such as halving the impact of climate change or giving every person on the planet access to clean water. But it needs to start with you and what’s important to you? And, hopefully, together we can all make a difference to future generations.
We are currently articulating what Sustainability means to our staff and stakeholders on a personal level to develop some emotive issues that we as an organization can seek to address.
While we continue to provide updates, please read our latest article about sustainability.