5 tips to work sustainability into your business’s budget

Moving your sustainability efforts from internal to external will involve communication through social media and other outlets, such as press releases, blog posts and by word of mouth to your customers.

It’s that time of year when businesses are putting together their budgets for 2011 and what better time to write in some line items for sustainability efforts for your company. In order for your business to say it’s gone green it has to have a written plan and a way to not only measure but to show customers that you’re true to your word when it comes to working toward helping the environment.

Here are five ways to work it into your budget and goals:
  1. Implement a plan for how to respond to customer requests for what your company is doing for the environment. Corporations such as Bank of America, Walmart and others are asking their suppliers for environmental data. Does your management team have a summary of current requests in that area? If a customer asks if your products are coming from environmentally friendly sources, can you answer and point to specifics.
  2. Take some time with your staff and outline your sustainability goals and how they complement your company’s bottom line. You need to have a clear, concise definition of what sustainability means to your company and a clear outline of how you will attain those goals that your company finds important.
  3. Can you tie your sustainability and energy savings to employee compensation? Talk among the employees about implementing a merit program for reaching certain financial benchmarks in savings and sustainability – that sends a powerful message to your customers.
  4. Push your managers and staff to write down budget line and functional goals as they relate to your 2011 sustainability practices. The goals can’t be in one department only – they have to be company-wide in order to be effective.
  5. Engage employees in the company plan. Develop meaningful conversations and get buy in from all staff, especially those who have face to face contact with customers. Meaningful dialogue includes letting them be aware of the initiatives, why they are important to the company and how they can help in the implementation of those goals. Let employees know that in your company every day is Earth Day and they should all do their parts.
Moving your sustainability efforts from internal to external will involve communication through your on hold messages, social media and other outlets – press releases, blog posts and by word of mouth to your customers.