Sustainability. Green. Eco-friendly. Climate-conscious. Carbon Neutral.
These are just some of the words that have been bombarding business strategy meetings over the last few years, as businesses are looking to do more to support both people and planet.
Whilst it’s great to see such urgency in the business world to do more to fight for the planet, unfortunately, there are still lots of businesses jumping on the sustainable bandwagon in order to get a slice of the growing conscious consumer market.
One of the things that allows the real sustainable businesses to stand out from the greenwashers is having a sustainable business model. Business models like these should be embedded across the business, and used to support key decision making.
But how can you make sure your business model is truly sustainable, and not just another case of corporate greenwashing?
Let’s take a look at the things you should consider when building your sustainable business model.
Put sustainability at the heart of what you do
If you’re taking sustainability seriously, then it should be at the heart of everything you do. To an outsider checking out your business for the first time, your commitment to sustainable practice should be clear from your website, tagline, social media and any marketing assets that you create. But more than just the marketing side of things, sustainability should also be a core element of any business mission statement, and a fundamental pillar of the way you do business.
Think about your supply chain
In order to be a truly sustainable business you have to take responsibility for all elements of your business and operations, even the ones you’re not directly involved in. Just because there’s an unethical part of your product manufacturing or service delivery that ‘doesn’t involve you’, if you create the need for unsustainable practice, then you are perpetuating unsustainable business practices.
Looking for some new, verified Kind Business to bring some sustainability to your supply chain? Take a look at our Kind Business Club.
What value do you add to your customers? Is this sustainable?
As well as considering the sustainability of your manufacture and service delivery process, a key part of a sustainable business plan is also thinking about what happens to your product or service once it's in the hands of your customer.
Ask yourself these key questions:
What’s the lifespan of your product?
Does it require constant updates in order to use it properly?
Does it add renewable value to your customer, or do they have to come back and buy more each time?
What benefits does using your product add to your customer’s life?
By considering questions like these that put the focus on what happens to your product or service once it’s out of your hands, you can create a business legacy that’s more sustainable.
Clarify your stakeholders in your sustainable business model
In order to establish whether you’re making real sustainable change where it matters, you need to decide who your key stakeholders are. Stakeholders is the term used to refer to anyone who has a vested interest in your business. Traditionally this has been used to refer to shareholders, or people with financial investment in a business, but now the definition has evolved to include anyone who is affected by your business and what it does. Stakeholders can include:
Your supply chain
Think carefully about how your business supports each of these stakeholders, and whether the decisions you make are truly in their interest.