Sustainability Challenges in the Aftermath of the Pandemic
As always, sustainability is a significant challenge for businesses across the globe. Now that the pandemic has cleared up, it’s important that businesses keep the momentum going for sustainability and reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
A lot of challenges will come with this new focus.
While we have a way to go before reaching these goals, self-awareness and preparation for these upcoming challenges can help set us on track in order to make it out alive as a society and business. We can do this by taking time to learn what the real challenges are and what we can do to set ourselves up for success along the way.
Meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a list of multiple goals to be achieved by the year 2030. These goals aim to have the world a better place than when it started. The focus is on people, the planet and prosperity and is a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
Businesses aiming toward complete or partial sustainability can benefit from the SDGs by using them as a blueprint to follow. The challenge is in being able to meet the goals that have more than one objective. This can be accomplished by having short, medium and long-term objectives to achieve.
For example, corporate sustainability efforts in Belgium can focus on making the country more sustainable and creating jobs in a timely manner. This can include collaborating with other businesses, building a better economy and minimizing energy usage.
A real-world example of this is the Eco-house project which aims to reinvent homes using sustainable practices while creating jobs along the way. Companies like Koelie are working on creating a renewable energy sector to meet the SDGs.
Investing in sustainability is easier said than done.
One of the biggest challenges in maintaining a sustainable business is not the actual implementation of sustainability, but the investment to do so. If the budget is limited, it’s hard to find ways to achieve sustainable practices and still remain profitable.
Certain practices like reducing carbon emissions will cost you more money while others like reusing materials will save you a little bit. It’s important to meet halfway so that your operation doesn’t suffer from an overall loss of revenue.
There are ways to diversify businesses so that one does not suffer a loss of profit.
Some of these ways include:
- Manufacturing multiple products
- Selling products to different markets
- Selling services in addition to products
It is also possible to shift focus from one product or service to another. For example, printing companies can increase their focus on digital media. Instead of producing printed books, they can offer services like scanning and photocopying. Although this is a relatively easier option, it may not be realistic in the short term because there are companies that still depend heavily on print media.
The Effect of Workflows on Sustainability
Some of the more complicated issues that sustainability has to deal with involve our workflow. The way in which we work can contribute to or detract from an organization’s ability to be sustainable, as long as there is a correlation between the two.
One factor that may be overlooked is how workflows affect employees. If an employee works in an environment that creates a lot of waste, then they may be less inclined to use resources carefully. In this case, they are counterproductive and need to be changed in order to reduce environmental damage.
Essentially, when you improve business workflows, you also improve sustainability. You may have to change certain things in your business and waste management processes, but it’s worth it for a better environment and overall business profits.
Sustainable Data Storage
One of the biggest challenges businesses face when it comes to data storage sustainability is cybersecurity.
Storing data securely on a cloud is difficult, if possible. Not only does it require a lot of effort from your company, but it also requires a lot of effort from IT personnel as well as cloud services providers.
One way you can reduce the physical storage of your data is by using other storage solutions such as using the cloud or using external storage devices like hard drives or USB drives. There are also ways to physically reduce data with encryption and data reduction techniques.
As expected, cloud storage will help reduce waste in your offices and may even reduce your carbon footprint. However, this also opens your business up to possible security breaches. As such, it’s important to be wary of who and what you store your data for and make sure that you have backups for your data. This way, if something happens to your cloud storage, you still have a copy on another secure cloud or external device.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have become essential in shaping the future of the global economy because they emphasize sustainability in every aspect of socio-economic development. They are a way to maintain our environment while also boosting economies across the globe.
As mentioned before, if we take the time to understand these goals and how to achieve them, we will be able to take advantage of them in order to set ourselves up for success. We may even create new industries that were never thought possible before, as a world without waste.
For more sustainability tips, visit our page on sustainable business growth and increase.
* The IMEDD assists businesses in their market research & sustainability commitments and communicate on their initiatives.
Article written for the IMEDD by Kat Sarmiento.
Kat writes articles with the hopes of reaching out to more people. Her writing is focused on lifestyle, science, and smart hacks, that will definitely be useful to readers.