As champions of the health and wellness of the human body, our industry is looked upon for leadership in sustaining a healthy lifestyle. In no other industry is sustainability more fundamentally relevant. Sustainable health is all about high performance and longevity—of your body and your clients’ bodies, of your business and, ultimately, of the planet.
You are passionate about your business. You are also passionate about your clients’ health, about doing good and making a difference. And so are your clients. Research has shown that a brand’s perceived environmental stewardship or social responsibility can swing a buyer towards the “greener” company, aligning their pocketbook with their values.
By integrating sustainability principles into their business model, industry leaders have benefitted for years from greater profits, higher brand affinity and stronger resilience in volatile markets. The business case for sustainability has been proven over and over. Now it is time for you to benefit as well.
Here are some practical first steps toward integrating sustainable practices at your business—adding the missing piece to a truly holistic approach to business: the “Triple Bottom Line” (People, Planet, Profit).
Clarify What Is Material to Your Business
Identify what is important to you, your clients and community when it comes to sustainable business practices.
- Are there resources (e.g., water, waste, power, paper) particularly relevant to your business or community?
- Are you motivated by cutting consumption and cost, or are you looking for value alignment?
Choosing the initiatives most material to your business activities typically yields the most sustained value.
Define Your Scope of Influence
Determine what you can and cannot change within your business operations, your building and the surrounding community. Understanding the infrastructure and policies of your community will help you identify the boundaries and opportunities of your initiatives. This understanding will in turn shape your implementation plan.
Create an Implementation Plan
Establish a few specific goals for your chosen initiatives and create a metric structure to track your performance. Identifying and tracking KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) strengthens your implementation strategy by serving as scaffolding for evaluation, development and communication of your strategy.
Find Fellow Champions
Create a team of champions to help you implement sustainable practices. Your team can include your staff and customers as well as strategic partners. Collaboration and partnerships can be leveraged in sustainability integration as a way to increase bargaining power, visibility and scope.
Tell Your Story
Communicate your story authentically to your customers and integrate it into your marketing strategy. Here is where the choices you made in the first stage (when you identified materiality) shine through. The more you focus on relevant initiatives to your business practices and culture, the easier it is to communicate an authentic story to the market.
Lastly, if you’re overwhelmed, don’t let that keep you from acting. If all you can do right now is switch out your paper products from virgin material to 100% recycled content, then do it. No act is too small. It all counts.
On Tuesday, I’ll be at the BOLD MINDBODY Conference to share more details on how to integrate sustainability into business operations, allowing even small businesses to see greater profits as a result.
Sustainability Bootcamp: Realize Greater Profits by Doing Greater Good
Tuesday, October 14: 3:15PM