Updated: Dec 24, 2020
Life is full of choices. For businesses, this is no exception. And the choices that businesses make influence whether consumers will choose to support that company or not. And these days, more than ever before, one of the most beneficial decisions a company can make is the decision to practice corporate social responsibility and be good stewards of the environment.
How can companies be good stewards? It can be done in a lot of ways. Sometimes it can be done by making simple changes, such as adding recycling bins in employee work areas or changing to energy-efficient light bulbs. Because the fact is that any business, no matter what type of business it is, has a carbon footprint. Some are larger than others, but everyone has them. And this post will focus on one way that companies can look at their social responsibility right now, which is to examine the company’s shipping practices.
Right now companies are relying on shipping more than ever before because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Whether they are shipping to customers that live around the corner or around the world, it is important to examine each aspect of the shipping process.
And of course, before the shipping process even begins, there is the packaging. This often involves styrofoam packing peanuts, or loads of plastic wrapping, or other unnecessarily unsustainable products. Recognizing where sustainable alternatives can be used is a good start. For example, a Florida brewery starting selling six-packs that were kept together with edible rings, meaning that if those rings end up in the ocean, they can be safely eaten by marine life. A larger-scale example would be Ikea using packaging made out of mushrooms that decomposes within 30 days (as opposed to styrofoam, which takes centuries to decompose).
Once the right shipping materials are selected, it is important to examine which shipping companies to choose from based on each companies commitment to environmental responsibility. And once the business has a shipping company in mind, they’ll have to examine how they ship. Some companies, like Amazon, prioritize convenience over environmental responsibility and send out one order in many packages, thus creating unnecessary waste packaging.
Ideally, all of these decisions and actions would be overseen and taken by one person, a sustainability coordinator if you will. This makes it easier to implement these policies and ensure that there is uniformity across the company’s decision-making process.
Lastly, a company with this type of sustainability practice should be open and transparent, so that consumers can know that the company is sustainable. Recent trends show that implementing a sustainable corporate policy can be good for business as well as the planet, but that only works and inspires confidence if the company is transparent about its practices.
As was mentioned at the beginning of this post, life is full of choices. But making a few simple, straightforward, sustainable choices can benefit the company, the community, and the planet.