Protecting the environment has become an increasingly visible social topic, and businesses both large and small are looking for ways to get involved. Not only is sustainable business more eco-friendly, but it also strengthens your brand image and appeals to customers, partners, and employees.
If your company is also looking for ways to take a more green approach, understanding environmental stewardship can help point you in the right direction. Environmental stewardship is when businesses use sustainable practices to preserve and protect nature, whether that means reducing their own carbon footprint or giving back to ecological causes. The ultimate goal of environmental stewardship is to mitigate our impact on the planet and create a safe, healthy environment for generations to come.
However, many businesses fail to promote environmental stewardship because they are unfamiliar with its practices or don’t have a plan to incorporate them into their business model. Luckily, curating a sustainable work environment does not need to be costly or time-consuming. There are a myriad of simple, inexpensive stewardship practices that you can incorporate into your company.
Let’s dive in and discuss the pillars of corporate sustainability that will help support your efforts and easy practices that your company can implement today for a better environment tomorrow.
What Are the 3 Pillars of Sustainability?
Implementing sustainable business practices means more than sharing a social media post on Earth Day. True sustainability comprises three interconnected categories, which many refer to as the “three pillars of sustainability.” Covering not only ecological issues, these three pillars focus on building stability through the relationship between various social arenas like health, education, nature, and the economy.
1. Environmental Sustainability
The most directly “green” of the three pillars, environmental sustainability is precisely what it sounds like: business practices that enhance the environment’s health. This first pillar includes the reduction of environmental stressors, such as toxic waste emissions, along with protection for the quality of the water, air, and earth. Since human life is inextricably linked to the environment, efforts to preserve human health in our ecosystems also relate to the pillar of environmental sustainability.
2. Social Sustainability
The practice of social sustainability has to do with implementing business practices that support human health, resource security, justice, education, and awareness. This pillar is essentially a meeting place of environmentalism and other social causes. For example, under this pillar, businesses might recommend that employees carpool or institute “Meatless Mondays” to help indirectly support the environment through their social behaviors.
3. Economic Sustainability
Economic sustainability pertains to creating jobs, ensuring profitability, and scrupulous accounting. This interacts with social sustainability through the creation of employment opportunities that boost the economy and improve individuals’ wellbeing. It also intersects with environmental sustainability through practices that are both fiscally and environmentally responsible — for example, recycling commodities that earn your business money while reducing waste.
Practices to Implement Environmental Stewardship
With the three pillars’ interconnected values in mind, you can undertake specific actions, initiatives, and campaigns that promote environmental stewardship throughout your company. To help you get started, here are a few simple ideas to help your business embrace sustainability.
Choose Sustainable Resources
If you’re interested in making your business model a little more environmentally friendly, a great place to begin is switching to sustainable versions of products you already use. For example, swap out your regular printer paper for a recycled option and ensure that your staff uses sustainable cleaning products to reduce the number of toxic chemicals within our environment. If your business sells a physical product, consider using sustainable packaging rather than plastics.
Install Energy-Efficient Fixtures
With the assistance of energy-efficient lighting, you can reduce your electricity usage dramatically. Rather than using traditional lightbulbs, install compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diodes (LED) lights. The upfront cost is slightly higher than traditional lighting fixtures, but they last significantly longer, saving your company money even as you help the environment.
Implement Summer Dress Codes to Lower AC
Many companies keep the AC high in warm weather to accommodate formal business attire, but why not find a happy medium? In one famous example, the Cool Biz campaign began in Japan during the summer of 2005, when the prime minister proposed that Japanese professionals wear cooler clothes composed of breathable materials in summer. This meant that companies could lower their energy usage and costs related to keeping the office cool in the summer. If this sounds like a great idea to you, consider trying it out this summer! Encouraging a dress code that aligns with the weather is much more sustainable than heating or cooling the entire building.
Donate to Environmental Nonprofits
One of the most straightforward ways to support environmental stewardship is by donating to a worthy cause — whether that means giving a specific amount or promising a portion of your profits. By donating to an environmental charity, you can display your company’s values, give back to the community, and help the environment all in one gesture. There are many options to choose from, whether you prefer to support local nonprofits in your area or more well-known nonprofit organizations.
Participate in Awareness Events Like Arbor Day Plantings
National Arbor Day occurs every year on the last Friday in April. On this special day, participants, people, and organizations will plant a tree to benefit future generations. Participating in Arbor Day or similar events is a wonderful way to show that your company cares about the current state of the environment and the long-term implications of environmental stewardship.
Utilize E-waste Recycling
Eventually, every company needs to get rid of outdated electronic devices. When the time comes, why not do it in the most environmentally safe manner possible? By partnering with e-waste recyclers, you can ensure your IT assets are responsibly recycled. And if you choose recyclers with commodities processing or resale options, you may even be able to earn some money back on your e-waste disposal.
Properly Dispose of Hazardous Materials
While we’re on the topic of e-waste recycling, ensure that you also dispose of all hazardous materials in an environmentally sustainable manner, from chemical waste to old televisions and anything in between. When disposing of items with potentially toxic materials, make sure you are following compliance regulations and working with professionals who will handle these hazards with care. This includes electronics that may contain materials like mercury or lead, so ensure that you are calling upon the assistance of certified e-waste recycling companies that have the qualifications necessary to ensure that all hazards are disposed of properly.
Environmental Stewardship with FAMCe
If you’re embarking on environmental stewardship to help protect both the environment and your business, don’t overlook e-waste recycling. At First America Metal Corp. (FAMCe), we deliver sustainable solutions for businesses who prefer to dispose of their old devices in a better way. With over 30 years of experience helping businesses responsibly recycle and decommission their outdated devices, our high level of expertise and exceptional customer service have built our reputation as the leading company for your recycling needs.
If you want to recycle your old devices with confidence, choose a partner you can rely on. Contact FAMCe today for e-waste disposal that’s ethical and secure.