Over the last two weeks, I’ve attended various roundtable discussions and events. The same topic keeps being discussed - what is your business doing to be sustainable? But often the question should be, what do you believe sustainability means for a business?
Of course, everyone jumps up and says how their business is being sustainable. But they’re constantly discussing the environmental actions they’re taking. Which, don’t get me wrong, are all still very fitting for sustainability, but there is so much more to it. Others will often look at it as a tick-box process, thinking we’re being sustainable as we recycle all waste and materials. I believe we should start with what the word sustainable means:
'the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level'
'avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance'
We need to be conscious of our own actions personally, and as a business. But this relates to all aspects of working, from the products and procedures in place to support execution and efficiency of your services. This can be looking at the type of materials you use and how you dispose of them (shout out to those people who want to tick recycling box, here’s your opportunity!)
But what about the wellbeing of those carrying out all this work? Do you look at the wellbeing of the team members who are delivering on the outputs for your business? If you're not conscious of this, you’ll neglect the workforce, allowing this element to fall apart and damaging your business' workflow and efficiency.
Often decisions about the ways to be more sustainable within your business come from the top. In effect, you’re told this is what we’re imposing as a business now and this type of enforced situation isn’t really going to engage people. Let’s be honest, no one likes to be told how to do things regardless of your age.
Yet, something DRPG did was ask each department to come up with their own initiatives. Ideas were varied, but some really stuck. For example, in our print department, the bleed line for printing was set at 10mm as a default. By rolling material back into the printer after a job was finished, we reduced the amount of paper waste and, over time, reduced cost.
In production, a lot of batteries are used for microphone packs as we can never allow power to get lower than 50 per cent when producing a live event. So, instead of these batteries being neglected and discarded, we reuse them within the office in things such as TV remotes and calculators. This has had a massive impact on savings and waste.