Rethinking Business: Profit, People, Planet
Corporate Social Responsibility is the idea that companies can invest in society and the environment while also operating and profiting as businesses. There are three foundations to consider when it comes to both running a successful business and being a responsible steward in the community: people, planet, and profit.
CSR promotes two key ideas: "do more good" and/or "do less harm." The route your business takes depends on resources and organizational goals. You’ll want to look at people, planet, and profit from the perspective of your business to develop your CSR initiative. This includes considering people—like customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Determine which products or income streams profit your business. Are there ways to conserve the environment while saving money? How does your business impact the planet? This includes shipping emissions, building utilities, and even employee commuting.
Select a CSR idea that aligns with your business goals. This makes developing, executing, and maintaining your idea easier, and increases its sustainability.
Consider everyone involved with your business: customers, employees, stakeholders, vendors, partners, community members, etc. They don’t all have to be involved in your CSR conservation idea, but they could provide overlapping opportunities. Let’s look at customers and employees as examples. In terms of customers, what do you physically provide them? How do you reach out to them? Maybe your business can reduce paperwork by going paperless in certain areas.
Employees are essential for conservation projects and programs. Getting employees involved in conservation can save your business time, money, and resources, and boost morale. What if all your employees consumed less office utilities, or your sales team handed out eco-conscious materials? Or say your product and services team found ways to conserve raw resources. Imagine not only the savings, but the positive impact on the environment. Employees may also enjoy team building activities like park clean-ups or tree plantings, which help boost productivity and create a solid company culture!
How does your business interact with the planet? Organizations’ environmental impacts run the spectrum—from using local building utilities to managing global imports and exports. Focus on areas of environmental conservation that directly relate to your business.
Shipping causes vehicular emissions, product packaging causes waste, and manufacturing causes other byproducts. The list of impacts goes on! By re-examining shipping, packaging, production, and other practices, you can save your business money while saving the planet.
What are some ways you can use conservation to save or make your business money? Look at your business’ waste streams for opportunities. (See TCEQ’s Resource Exchange Network for Eliminating Waste.) As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Investing in energy-saving utilities and appliances also yields short- and long-term savings. Purchasing better equipment and tools can produce less waste while saving time and money. TCEQ’s Texas Emissions Reduction Plan program also provides financial incentives to eligible individuals, businesses, or local governments to reduce emissions from polluting vehicles and equipment. There are many roads on which going green can save you some green!