I’ve always liked the opinion that Elon Musk shared when interviewed about the importance of sustainability. It was something along the lines of it making no sense to operate your business where it is heavily or solely reliant on a finite resource. There’s a high degree of risk and your costs can only increase. I think it’s the practicality of it that resonates with me.

That said, I’m very sympathetic to those who, after the unprecedented market conditions we’ve faced over the past few years, feel less than enthusiastic about beginning another significant change programme like the one needed to become a sustainable and carbon neutral business. But hopefully you’ve read my previous article and, if you hadn’t already, can see both the need and the opportunity that sustainability presents.

The good news is that there are plenty of really useful tools and resources that can help you achieve your goals.

A good place to start and to work out what’s best for your business is the Climate Action Toolbox. It’s a simple self-assessment tool to help reduce the carbon footprint of your business. Using the toolbox – which was developed by BNZ in partnership with Government, business, and industry groups – businesses go through a self-assessment to identify which areas are most relevant to them and can then choose from a range of specific actions to improve their climate impact.

There also plenty of companies in the market providing some great example for others to follow:

  • Looking at smarter transport options to reduce the amount of emissions. You can use biofuels instead of petrol or diesel. Convert your vehicle fleet to electric or hybrids as we’ve seen from Mighty River Power, Air New Zealand and NZ Post. Alternatively, use car-sharing or car-pooling schemes, such as Your Drive or Cityhop. If you need to take a taxi, use companies like Green Cabs or Uber.
  • Support companies focusing on energy efficiency and renewables through your procurement policy. Or purchase items produced locally as they will have lower emissions from transport.
  • Your business can make real energy reductions – and financial savings – by implementing an energy saving programme. There is as much as 20 percent to be saved on the energy bill simply by being smarter with their energy use.
  • You can measure, and set a target to reduce, your business’ annual carbon emissions by using the free online Annual Carbon Emissions calculator. It’s a simple way of monitoring your business’s impact on climate change.
  • Where you can’t eliminate all emissions, you can offset them. A planting programme, such as the Million Metres Streams Project, not only helps to absorb carbon emissions, it offers many other benefits including restoring our waterways.

As you’d expect, BJ Ball and our parent company Ball and Doggett are heavily invested in our own sustainability and in working with our clients and the wider industry to help them achieve their goals. As part of this work we’ve created a number of resources to help our clients including the – Practical steps to your sustainability pathway. As the name suggests there are 12 practical steps for businesses to follow:

  1. Define what sustainability looks like for you.
  2. Identify your current impacts and risks?
  3. What does your economic impact look like through the lens of an implemented sustainability transition pathway?
  4. What areas in your business can be addressed tomorrow from an environmental perspective?
  5. What does your social impact look like?
  6. Set action targets and goals that support your business framework.
  7. Create partnerships with peers and sustainability practitioners.
  8. How can you be the innovator within your industry?
  9. Time to embrace transparency.
  10. What do you do with your e-waste?
  11. Culture and Strategy education
  12. Ask for help

If you get really enthusiastic you can also check out the Spec22 – Sustainable Print Education Conversation.

The costs of ignoring climate change are increasing and business-as-usual strategies are going to hurt the bottom line. Not responding to climate change will make businesses increasingly hard to invest in or purchase from.