What you should know: While businesses are no strangers to regulation, mandates for mid-sized companies to disclose detailed information on environmental, social and governance practices are likely to increase.
Your next steps: Get a head start by establishing processes for assessing and reporting your emissions and use of water and other resources. Rather than viewing this as a distraction from your business, try to view it as an integral part of your operations, yielding valuable and actionable insights for your business.
What you should know: Equipment, utilities and office supplies are among the top costs for most businesses. Incremental investments in efficient lighting, heating and cooling are just the start.
Your next steps: As you look around your company, ask yourself, “How can our next decision or purchase make a difference?” For instance, eliminating paper checks and forms can not only reduce waste, but it can also lower your supply costs while helping you become more efficient. Likewise, utilities operators in your area may provide free or cheap energy audits, with suggestions (and possibly rebates) for efficient lighting or heating and cooling systems that lower energy consumption, all the while slashing your bills. And as the costs for electric vehicles and renewable energy drop and they continue to become mainstream, think about whether it makes sense to switch some, if not all, of your fleet vehicles to electric or install solar panels in a new facility you’re building.
What you should know: The intangible benefits of working toward net zero may be as valuable as the tangible ones. Consider that 58% of consumers say they buy from or advocate for brands they believe in, 60% say their beliefs and values influence where they choose to work, and 75% worry about climate change.
Your next steps: Speak with employees, customers and other stakeholders about what matters to them. Incorporating their thinking and telling an authentic story about your efforts toward cleaner operations could strengthen your brand and help you attract and keep valued employees.
What you should know: Committing to net zero may seem daunting, especially at first. But the fact is, nobody has all the answers. While the business community is establishing standards for cleaner business practices and ways to measure progress, knowledge of how to get there will continue to evolve.
Your next steps: Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Start now. Conduct a SWOT analysis (which refers to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to better understand the implications that clean energy will have for your business. Also get the conversation going within your company and with others in your industry. Taking steps to reduce your emissions can offer benefits now, even as you hone and perfect your strategy moving forward. And you don’t have to go it alone — speak with your banking representative for ideas on getting started.