Sustainability Programs: What They Are & Why You Need One

Whether on social media, on TV, or just walking down the street, it is not uncommon to hear folks talking about the hot topic of “sustainability.” But definitions of sustainability can vary widely depending on who you are talking to. Many definitions are filled with catchy buzzwords, while others are impractical in their idealism. For those just wanting to understand how sustainability might apply to them in the real world, such definitions can make it seem daunting or make people wonder if it is even worth trying.

We at Benecras prefer to abide by a simple definition of sustainability—one to which the every-man and -woman can relate. Our definition is: identifying opportunities to save money, resources, and time in the areas of energy, water, waste, and printing all while being conscious of the environment. To us, this definition better answers some valid questions about sustainability like, “What can sustainability do for my organization?” or “Is investing in sustainability really worth it?” Benecras is of the mind that having a sustainability program can and will yield real benefits for any organization—both in the near term and long run.

Sustainability: identifying opportunities to save money, resources, and time in the areas of energy, water, waste, and printing all while being conscious of the environment.

So why does your organization need a sustainability program, and what can it really do for you? We tackle these questions below.

Sustainability programs can:

  • Save Money: Every kilowatt-hour of electricity not used and every page not printed is money saved for your organization. One of the core ideas of sustainability is to get the 3same or better results using fewer resources to do it. Many business owners are already familiar with this concept in how they conduct their business; however, it is common for people to overlook the savings they might be able to achieve through simple behavior changes or by investing in cost-effective upgrades. With any investment, getting a positive return is one of the objectives. Sustainability is no different. Investing in sustainability can mean more money in the pockets of shareholders or more money in the hands of schools to pay teachers or invest in supplies. Companies and schools have had great success saving money through sustainability. You could be next!

See also -- Kroger Saves 38% on Electricity Since Year 2000

See also -- School District Sustainability: Saving 'Green' By Going Green

  • Engage People: Sustainability engages your stakeholders. It makes them feel invested in your organization—like they have a personal stake in its success. When students, staff, or employees are asked and trained to be conscious of resource usage or are coming up with ways to do so on their own, your school or business is encouraging a culture of ownership. Suddenly, your people or students are thinking about sustainability, which creates a virtuous cycle that builds on itself and carries momentum of its own (Business News Daily: How to Increase Employee Engagement in Sustainability). Some companies have created entirely new revenue streams from materials once viewed as waste all because an employee spoke up, while schools can get students involved in extra-curricular activities and integrate sustainability as a real-life example in the classroom. Moreover, a sustainable culture has positive effects outside your organization. Students or employees will take this mindset home with them or to other organizations, which raises your organization’s standing in the community. People feeling invested in a cause can encourage innovation, critical thinking, and information retention while creating hands-on learning opportunities that ultimately work to achieve your school or business’s core mission.

  • Help the Environment: Sustainability programs help reduce negative impacts on the environment. All of us have a carbon footprint, and even seemingly small changes can have a big impact on reducing negative effects on the world around us. As the word sustainability might suggest, sustainability initiatives focus on helping us sustain or better our quality of life. If the environment in which we live is deteriorating and can no longer provide life’s core needs, it may be difficult to sustain or better our quality of life going forward.

Saving Money + Engaging People + Helping the Environment = Better Outcomes for Your Organization

The bottom line is that when you combine the above, organizational outcomes are better. Operating sustainably means organizations are better able to achieve their core missions. Whether that is educating students, making a profit, or saving the planet, sustainability is a net positive.

Operating sustainably means organizations are better able to achieve their core missions.

So where does Benecras fit in? Many organizations do not have the means or expertise to hire a full-time sustainability manager to tap into the benefits above. That is the gap Benecras fills. By hiring us to implement and manage your sustainability initiatives, client partners get the benefits above without straining current staff or hiring more employees. We can help you accomplish your goals and lay the foundations for a sustainable organization and culture at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time staff member. Interested in learning more about how Benecras can help? Contact us today!