If you didn’t come in to 2020 with a fridge (and freezer) full of healthy food, a Costco stash of toilet paper, a meditation practice, and an exercise routine, it’s probably been an uphill battle to keep your head above water, let alone a scramble to maintain a thriving business.
The challenges of 2020 seemed to have come out of nowhere. A shock to the system, our businesses, and our way of life. We had to react quickly and could only rely on the reserves of resilience we came in with. Some of us were more prepared than others, yet the chips seemed to keep piling up. We were challenged, professionally, personally, politically, and societally.
The new year brings in new hope but on December 31st when the clock shifted us into 2021 the challenges didn’t all just magically disappear, some of us are still fighting, some of us are closely monitoring the situation, but none of us feel absolutely immune to the uncertainties of the future.
This lack of immunity we’ve witnessesed has made me recognize the parallel between a business and an organism and led me to wonder…
Is sustainability the equivalent of a vaccine for businesses?
There are many metaphors we could use to describe a business, but since our businesses are largely made up of people, the analogy that business are organisms seems fitting. When we look at a company as an organism, we can see that it’s a living, breathing, system that’s ever-changing and constantly impacted by external influences. Organisms usually exist in an ecosystem but are their own entity. Organisms must develop their own process to absorb what will keep them alive (what will sustain them) and repel what will harm them. In the human body we call the ability to repel potential health threats, like a virus or harmful bacteria, immunity.
Without some level of immunity a business can find it hard to thrive or respond to threats, like the threats we experienced in 2020, and the uncertainty we will continue to experience in 2021.
But immunity takes time to build, so how can you inject a dose now to kick start illness prevention or assist in the building of healthy immune system going forward?
How do you build immunity within your business?
We’re constantly having to do more with less, there is compounding pressure to gain greater efficiency with the hope of becoming more immune to external and internal threats.
When it comes to businesses, I now think of sustainability as all the positive little changes that can build your immune system.
The ongoing ability to sustain something positive requires habitual nourishment. For a business, nourishment may mean consistently finding new initiatives that sustain longevity and competitive advantage. These initiatives can be found in operational practices, financial spending, the productivity of your work spaces, or considering your impact on the environment.
Sustainable business practices can be instituted across departments and even within the infrastructure of a facility. Implementing, long lasting green initiatives can help but big impact initiatives can give a businesses a heafty dose of the sustainability vaccine.
Some initiatives you can take to build your sustainabilty includes:
Small impact initiatives:
• Switch off the lights or power when not in use OR use occupancy sensors.
• Go paperless.
Big impact initiatives:
• LED lighting upgrades (Not all LED upgrades are equal)
• Advanced IoT enabled lighting control systems (include scheduling & daylight harvesting…)
• HVAC RTU Smart Motor upgrades
• Switching work vehicles to electronic vehicles