How to achieve business buy in for sustainability

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Sustainability has become an increasingly important part of business strategies so why and how should you implement it in your business.

No longer just a token tick box, reducing environmental impact is a core component of forward-thinking organisations. It's not just about saving the planet, but how you keep making money in the years to come. Adopting a more sustainable business strategy can significantly impact operating costs, for example using teleconferencing technology to hold multi-site meetings reduces travel costs and carbon emissions.

Sustainability is also a great way to build brand image. More and more customers are looking for more responsible, environmentally conscious brands, as are potential investors, partners, and suppliers. If you're not embracing sustainability but your competitors are, you could get left behind.

Here are five steps to help you get buy-in and improve your chances of successful implementation.

1. Get the right people involved

Who 'the right people' are will be different for every organisation but it's important to remember that adopting sustainability is more than just a marketing activity. Build relationships with the people you need to influence and develop allies in different departments. Get political, who will have to pay for it and who will have to deliver it? Create internal buzz around your project and identify the enablers for your ideas.

By generating buzz you may be able to identify supporters who will help drive things forward. Also consider people who have been in the business for a long time and may have been involved in previous initiatives, loyal customers and sustainability experts.

2. Workshops for success

Once you've identified your crack team, immerse them in the challenge of the project. Give them a task to do ahead of the workshop, such as keeping a diary of energy consumption. This will help them become more engaged in the project and so they will come ready to share their knowledge.

3. Get creative

Without creativity there won't be any ideas. Bring people together from across the business to generate new ideas from diverse viewpoints. To achieve effective collaboration people should be made to feel comfortable sharing ideas by building trust. It's important that people are given the freedom to voice what may be perceived as unrealistic requests but from these 'big ideas' something more reasonable may be achieved.

4. Be ready to compromise

Don't let perfection get in the way of making an idea happen. Know what it is that must be achieved for an idea to be successful and what you're willing to sacrifice if you have to. Getting ideas through complex organisations will often require significant levels of compromise but this shouldn't be seen as failure. Make sure you know what is core to the project's success and develop a negotiating strategy to ensure that it doesn't get lost. Involve those influencers and enablers you engaged at the beginning to help you make it happen.

5. Make your idea happen

Begin by trialling and learning in a way that works for your organisation to prove that an idea can actually work. This should be an iterative process of continual improvement. Do these trials quickly and cost effectively by using internal platforms if possible. Use the results of the trials to influence the business with facts and figures that tell the story of its success to convince them to go for a full roll out.

Here at water2business, we can help your business become more sustainable by improving your water efficiency.

www.water2business.co.uk / 0345 600 2 600 / hello@water2business.co.uk