Businesses all over the globe (with Bromley LB being no exception!) have a responsibility towards sustainability. Climate change and extreme weather events influence all our lives – with increasing impacts on economic performance.
With industry playing a large role in greenhouse gas emissions, local business owners must take their environmental impact seriously. From green commuting to reducing plastic consumption and fuel emissions, there’s plenty to do. Real business sustainability considers profits, people and the planet – necessitating a delicate balancing act.
If you’re thinking about Bromley sustainability goals for your business, then read on. We explore exactly business sustainability means, how to create effective sustainability goals and environmental efforts currently taking place within Bromley LB.
Business sustainability is the practice of operating a business without impacting the environment in a negative manner. It is as important for urban businesses (such as those based in Bromley LB) as it is in rural areas. Green businesses function with the best interests of the local and global environment in mind, with sustainability goals in place to track this progress.
Environmentally aware businesses consider their impact on society as well as profits – resulting in longer-term financial sustainability. This is known as a “triple bottom-line” (a term first coined in 1994 by John Elkington, a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable capitalism). It encourages the balancing of three aspects: profits, people and the planet.
For business sustainability, London is increasingly leading the way. The Mayor has set ambitious aims for London to be a zero carbon city by 2030. This involves projects such as the Green New Deal Fund (money to support projects boosting green jobs and tackling air pollution), a further £500m investment fund to deliver low carbon projects as well as divesting London’s pension funds from fossil fuel projects. One of the most important ways Bromley businesses can take part in sustainability London initiatives is to create their own sustainability goals.
Creating an appropriate business sustainability model for small businesses can be challenging however. For any business operating within Bromley LB, here are a few key steps you can take.
There are several ways that small businesses can create a simple yet effective business sustainability model. To get started with generating sustainability goals for your Bromley LB business, consider the following steps:
To encourage start-up sustainability, its important for businesses to understand what exactly business sustainability means for your organisation. To help this process, ask questions such as:
By answering questions such as this, you’ll be able to identify problems, define your Bromley sustainability objectives and create attainable goals. Remember to make sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) – the more you can do at this early stage, the better your business sustainability goals (and results!) will be.
Does your business have a mission statement? If not, then it’s time to write one. Mission statements should focus on actions and values. They will encourage sustainable behaviour not just in terms of the environment, but long-term business practices as well.
Try to keep this short and relevant to your core business model. Take the mission statement of an organisation such as Oxford University Press as an example. Their mission is to “further excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.” If business activities aren’t promoting the dissemination of knowledge (in a sustainable fashion!), then they can’t be implemented.
You can take a similar approach to your business (no matter how large or small). Ask yourself what makes your company unique, drives your operations and ultimately contributes to long-term sustainable business practices?
If you ever want to partner with other businesses or charities, this will also help you assess whether your missions and values are aligned.
With clearly defined goals and a mission statement to back them up, it’s time to craft your business sustainability model.
When creating a sustainability strategy, it’s important to ensure your company remains profitable. So do remember that “triple bottom line” which refers to how your business impacts profits, people and the planet – how can you balance the three?
Sustainability efforts may actively help your Bromley LB business stay profitable in the long term, so think about short-term and long-term cost/benefit analysis. For example, small changes (such as smart meters or motion sensor lights) may involve upfront investments, but will save on electricity bills further down the line.
As a final consideration when creating your start-up sustainability goals – remember that just like any other business activity, you should focus on tracking quantifiable results. Your goals, mission and strategy will all help here.
Any business sustainability model should be analysed and reviewed over time. So revisit your strategy periodically. Is it producing results? Whether it’s employee wellbeing, cutting fuel costs or reducing paper consumption – be confident in your ability to define and measure success.
Within Bromley LB, sustainability has been a large focus for the local council. Bromley sustainability initiatives aim to strike the appropriate balance between social, economic and environmental policy. Two key ways this has been enacted are through the Local Plan (with oversight of Bromley open spaces, homes and businesses) and the council’s Environmental Portfolio policies.
The Environmental portfolio particularly impacts business sustainability within Bromley LB. Key priorities include minimising waste and maximising recycling, improving public transport infrastructure and enhancing local green spaces.
Local businesses can all play their part in such initiatives, for instance by cutting down on paper and plastics use at work, encouraging car or bike share schemes and partaking in volunteer schemes with local parks and litter-picking groups.
Bromley LB is home to many environmental charity groups, for instance local meets of the London Wildlife Trust, Bromley Friends of the Earth Group, the Bromley Friends Forum and many more. A full list of environment and conservation organisations is available from the council’s website. It provides a useful starting point for any business looking to partner with organisations to improve sustainability efforts.
If you’re interested in SME or start-up sustainability in Bromley LB, Bromley Business Hub can help. From advice on your corporate social responsibility to sustainability initiatives and HR advice, we support Bromley businesses to reach their full potential.
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