Tell a story-Change a business

Embracing sustainability as a brand value. How do you go about it? NWFC has joined forces with a large clothing brand to say goodbye to unnecessary resources and welcome awareness and innovation towards a better future.

Looking back on our first year of collaboration, we are happy to see another sustainable success story. In twelve months, the company has researched, uncovered and evaluated their true waste numbers, energy consumption and awareness within the organization, and made the loop towards progressive action.

A number of telling examples:

  • -Since the kick-off, 10% of the employee workforce has given their time, talent and inspiration to bring about positive change
  • Inspiration has rippled through the company through workshops and inspirational speakers
  • 400 waste bins have been replaced by 84 bins, thereby improving waste management tremendously
  • Electric cars have been ordered for short distance business transports
  • Material content and embedded resources in products are being reviewed through a fine toothed comb

However, despite these clear signs of positive development, there is still a number of challenges to be faced in the coming year. Results of research on the amount of waste caused by companies are often both an astounding and motivating wake-up call. These cold numbers are a necessary splash in the face to reality that makes you want to change. A reference and a burning desire for something better is a must have.

For example, a large portion of the collections tend to get dropped as part of the standard development process, creating unnecessary waste on human resources, material and energy. When trying to minimize your own impact on the environment, it is well worth the effort to evaluate the cost of activities that don’t get to fruition in the end. What can you do to minimize waste on these activities?

Further, small but important changes scheduled for the coming year, which you can easily apply in your own company includes transferring business travel from plane to train for short haul destinations, and placing energy meters in key areas in the office buildings to detect leaks and show where you can reduce your greenhouse gas footprint.

But in order to get your sustainability train running, you will need to secure employee motivation and support. This is where you start; harnessing ideas and insights of employees on their everyday processes. An effective sustainable vision cannot be upheld by your strategic force alone. In fact, you will only be able to elicit change if your employees believe what you believe, if they embody the sustainable vision and start telling the story together themselves, bottom-up.

As a leader, it is your role to start the story that your employees bring to completion. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they would welcome sustainability into their work environment; A sustainable story starts with a genuine desire, moves with a collective sense of responsibility and should never be allowed to fall back into oblivion. We can always do better. What better time to start than now.

Fight on.

Author: Josephine Zwaan