It’s difficult to create anything from nothing in any market. Successful start-ups are like rare Rumpelstiltskin’s, turning straw into gold just in time to help us heal fully and quickly. However, when they bring their innovations to market in the post-COVID age, founding teams will be challenged to take on greater responsibility, particularly in their social and environmental decision-making. Consumers have spoken put their foot down of their new normal, claiming that spinning the ‘gold’ cannot be done at such a high cost to the world or its people.
A concrete sustainable-imperative is improving our corporate environment, but it also presents new hurdles for early-stage enterprises that must be more budget-conscious. These teams may feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place in this market. Investing in long-term solutions and improvements might be costly. However, businesses risk losing touch with their customer base completely without some of these technologies.
Fortunately, a well-thought-out strategy may assist start-ups in striking the right balance. Early-stage enterprises can keep in touch with their target customers by prioritising and staggering their green investments, increasing their future earning potential while also positively impacting the environment.
The Best (and Free) Place To Begin Is With An Audit
According to an Accenture poll, 65 per cent of customers who have had a mentality change due to the epidemic are leaning toward firms with legitimate “green” credentials. In the business world, B-Corporation accreditation is the pinnacle of achievement. B Labs is a multinational corporation leading the way in the industry. Their certified professionals examine a company’s procedures, from procurement to delivery to intra-team operations, and hold them to the highest sustainable standards. A B-Corp accreditation verifies that a corporation is doing all possible to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive economy.
While this seems like a simple goal to pursue, getting a B-Corp accreditation may be a lengthy process. Only when a firm has been in operation for over a year is it qualified for a true certification; there’s no need for the founders to scale Mount Everest overnight. However, like with any worthwhile objective, appropriate preparation is essential. B Labs provides a free B Impact Assessment, which serves as a precursor to the actual audit and a tool for founding teams to assess where they are. The evaluation assesses the present systems by calculating the effects of the company’s activities on its employees, customers, community, and environmental footprint. This initial phase is an efficient and cost-effective technique to become more detailed about the company’s future steps; the audit will reveal the company’s present strategy’s weak points and over-spends.
Getting the Most Out of Your Good Intentions
All hands must be on deck for a truly sustainable future. Employees, on the other hand, employees are ahead of the curve. Employers may tap into an army of forward-thinking, highly driven sustainability advocates by simply starting a dialogue and including their current workforce.
Various firm teams may split and tackle sustainability objectives using the all-hands-on-deck strategy. The programmers might explore the best possible carbon offsetting schemes to account for work travel. Sales teams might enlist don’t-commute-to-work campaigns, with rewards for tiny reductions in the company’s footprint. Managers might be tasked with locating and validating building management systems that turn off energy and temperature control in unoccupied areas. Employees who work from home might be offered time off to volunteer with and learn from environmental groups in their areas. This list continues on and on, and as long as entrepreneurs are thinking imaginatively about how to include their staff in their environmental activities, they’re on the right track.
A Sustainable Supply Chain Is Needed Now, Not Later
Product production accounts for a large portion of a company’s environmental footprint, and poor environmental policies throughout the supply chain rapidly add up. From rapid and flexible supply sourcing to final-mile delivery, the e-commerce sector places new expectations on suppliers. These kinds of offers are costly to the environment.
However, one smart move made early on might lead to a snowball effect of long-term growth. Founders may develop a response system from the start by evaluating vendors. The source, material, travel plan, and employment norms of a supplier must all be considered in ethical sourcing. Researching sustainability practices of suppliers, vendors, and partners is an additional step that will save a firm a lot of money in the long run.
There are two approaches to help the research process go more smoothly. The first step is to look for firms with a green reputation and work with suppliers who are open about their business practices. They are an obvious alternative for corporations or firms with comparable green certifications. Second, the founding team may be explicit about their commitment and invite qualified suppliers to approach them. This method was pioneered by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which developed a code of conduct for all of its suppliers to follow. Associated vendors must source all supplies lawfully, adhere to the corporation’s quality standards, and hire people in a nondiscriminatory manner. Having sourcing criteria in place allows firms to align with suppliers and partners that share their sustainability values; this is an excellent option for entrepreneurs to make early on.
There’s every reason to assume that if more organisations undertake the changes above—engage in audits, create team-based sustainability targets, and target ecological over-spends in their supply chain—we’ll start to see concrete improvement on a wide scale. Consumers would be the ones to thank if that happened. These new norms are a road sign pointing in the right way; founding teams should take notice, choose their speed, and boldly travel toward good post-pandemic operations.