Operating a business sustainably, or at least appearing to do so is by no means a new or innovative concept. Large corporate companies have spent years developing social responsibility campaigns, with entire departments dedicated to ensuring that day-to-day activity is synonymous with green policies.
Positive public image is undeniably the primary reason big corporates embark upon sustainability programmes. For a country still in the midst of austerity, reports on corporate greed or company slip-ups are increasingly popular, and likely to end up splashed across the front pages of newspapers.
Booming businesses compensate for any negative coverage through developing virtuous initiatives. Whether this is through saving the rainforest or limiting the company’s own environmental impact, the resulting benefits to the business have shown that every little really does help.
It may surprise you to learn that developing a sustainable policy can actually create significant financial benefits. Whilst some may argue that big companies can afford to spend money on their public image, unlike smaller businesses, even making the slightest changes, such as recycling can prevent landfill waste-costs and using more efficient machinery will equate to a reduction in outgoings over time.
At Robinson College we operate a focused, and importantly, maintainable sustainability programme in areas ranging from recycling, to monitoring energy usage, introducing solar panels and ethically sourcing local produce. Through this pro-active approach we have earned a reputation as an organisation committed to reducing environmental impact but we have also cut costs, increased profit, benefited the local community and inspired our staff.
We see our own sustainable policies as vital to our organisation’s progression and wherever possible, we engage with conference organisers, delegates and suppliers encouraging them to work with us to ensure that their events are sustainable. This is an attractive message for businesses that place CSR high on their corporate agenda and the same is likely to apply to large investors, who would be unlikely to associate with a company neglectful of such policies.
A sustainable agenda should no longer be viewed as merely a reputation boosting initiative for big corporate companies. It should be a core initiative in which all businesses, regardless of size, should invest.