Sustainability is one of the basic principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In addition to the obvious environmental benefits, adopting a zero-waste policy can have several advantages for any business.
The benefits of zero waste can expand your business and deliver many advantages over the standard models of production and consumption. Setting and achieving zero waste goals can not only save money but can also create a more sustainable work environment for employees.
Other benefits include:
Improve your brand image
Businesses are always looking for an advantage over their competitors. In the past, that likely meant offering lower prices or better-quality products and services. But today, adopting a zero-waste strategy can help set you apart.
A recent survey by CGS showed that 68% of people rate sustainability as an important factor when making a purchase. And, 28% said they would remain more loyal to a company with sustainable and ethical business practices.
Companies can boost their brand image by offering comprehensive and transparent information about their transition to zero waste. Including other sustainability metrics, like a commitment to combatting climate change, can help businesses reach a new environmentally conscious customer base.
Price-in zero-waste measures
The CGS survey also showed that 35% of respondents said they would pay up to 25% more for sustainable products. This means that businesses can directly price zero-waste measures into products and services.
As consumers become more aware of the impact of their shopping decisions, they also become more aware of the true cost of products and services, allowing brands to factor in the additional costs of fair-trade manufacturing or farming, sustainable, renewable and organic materials, and other environmental considerations and zero-waste measures.
Build a network
Having a network is among the foundations of a successful business. It can give you sources for help and guidance, materials, resources, or trustworthy employees. But it can be difficult and time-consuming to build a strong network.
Adopting zero-waste strategies and the wider philosophy can extend networking opportunities significantly.
Organizations like Zero Waste International Alliance (ZIWA), Zero Waste Canada and the Zero waste Network were established to help companies become more efficient through collaboration with professionals and other organizations.
Discover new revenue streams
Manufacturing-based companies may even be able to find entirely new revenue streams when following zero-waste methodology.
For companies that produce waste volume through manufacturing, the benefits of going zero waste can be two-fold. They may be able to leverage their zero-waste network to find other companies willing to pay for offcuts or waste materials in their products. Or they could develop new products to sell.
The circular concepts surrounding zero waste are designed to place a value on all materials – as the saying goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure.
Create new green jobs
Where there are new revenue streams, there are new jobs. And when a zero-waste company creates new revenue streams, there are new green jobs.
At the outset of a zero-waste journey, it can be beneficial to have an individual or team, depending on the size of your business, to identify waste streams as part of a wider waste audit, both within the business and across any supply chains.
Larger companies may look to hire a zero-waste consultant, while smaller companies might bring in a freelance consultant or the services of other zero-waste businesses.
Companies also need to consider the impact of extended producer responsibility programs and look to hire knowledgeable staff to both source and properly recycle materials.
Interested in learning more about Corporate Social Responsibility? University Canada West’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) short course will provide you with a foundation in the development and management of CSR strategies. The 42-hour program gives learners an overview of the importance of CSR and some of the frameworks used by the world’s largest tech, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail and mining companies.
It also provides guidelines on how to improve your organization’s environmental footprint, employee engagement, transparency, waste management and responsible supply chain management.
Published on May 6, 2021.