True sustainability depends on company culture

Would you like your business to be more sustainable? Of course! We all know how important the planet is to us, and to our children.

Matt GregMatt Greg

Matt Greg, 10 October, 2022

Paper pullout with headline "Climate Change"Paper pullout with headline "Climate Change"

Would you like your business to be more sustainable? Of course! We all know how important the planet is to us, and to our children. Yet if we all desire sustainable business models… Why is there a climate crisis? Because true sustainability is hard.

It’s no longer just about printing less, planting trees and having a shiny environmental policy on our websites. Perhaps it never was. The real challenge is systemic; we have to prioritise addressing the causes, rather than the symptoms of climate change. Each of us has a part to play in the change required. So, where can you start? I believe it’s in your company’s culture.

In December 2021, we decided to change our business to be more sustainable. NOSY is a service-based company, our CO2e emissions come primarily from the electricity we use (scope 2) and the emissions of our suppliers (scope 3). However, the biggest impact on the planet came from the businesses we worked with. If we promoted companies that harm the planet, helping them to grow, we would share the blame. It became our mission to start changing our client base to be sustainable.

The NOSY team creating sustainable seedling potsThe NOSY team creating sustainable seedling pots

NOSY team taking part in our Eco Workshops

At the beginning of 2022, we realised how much we didn’t know. So, NOSY signed-up for the Green Impact Scheme (GIS) and later in the year, commissioned a virtual Chief Sustainability Officer (James George). The team also began regular ‘Eco Workshops’, where we discuss and share knowledge on different areas of sustainability. Bringing this back to culture, the staff feel safe to ask questions and are encouraged to learn. This is crucial if you’re trying to make large changes in your business, as mistakes are inevitable, and can only be fixed through learning.

A bug hotel built from wood offcuts and sustainable materialsA bug hotel built from wood offcuts and sustainable materials

The NOSY team built bug hotels during a recent Eco Workshop

Through the GIS, it became clear that we needed governance. Our Operations Director, April, prepared a variety of sustainable policies and an Environmental Management System (EMS). Additionally, sustainability became one of our core guiding principles. We reviewed our office environment and supply chain, based on these guidelines, and started to make changes. Many of these are ongoing and depend on daily decisions. This comes back to culture once again: by having goals, guidelines and procedures; you make it easier for your staff to challenge decisions and make sustainable ones. Your business can only change if current practices are being challenged.

Rubbish Networking attendees picking up litterRubbish Networking attendees picking up litter

Rubbish Networking attendees picking up litter

When it comes to ‘walking the walk’, we aim to inspire the community and other businesses. In 2022 NOSY organised four ‘Rubbish Networking’ events (litter picking around the Island), became a ‘Climate Friendly Workforce’ through Ecologi, sponsored a beehive at Bunbury Bees and signed up for the Cycle2Work scheme. All of these things came from the team, because we encourage them to make suggestions on how NOSY could become more sustainable. The hive-mind approach really matters.

NOSY team next to a sponsored beehiveNOSY team next to a sponsored beehive

NOSY sponsors a beehive at Bunbury Bees

Finally, our clients, arguably the biggest and most important change. We developed a total of 18 new relationships over the past 9 months. From these, 14 were with businesses that positively contribute towards the environment (78%). These new relationships involved a range of sectors; from retrofit and green non-profits, to solar farm development and wildlife conservation. All of this was driven by the team; they translated learnings and made decisions that helped us to attract these types of clients.

To conclude, where can you start with changing your company’s culture to be more sustainable? Perhaps it’s by establishing where your company wants to get to and having guidance for the team when tough choices arise. I’ll finish this article with one of NOSY’s core principles that I mentioned earlier. Your team could have a workshop and come up with a version of this to suit your company… then put it into action.

Our company can help the planet. Every decision we make should consider its impact on the environment. We won’t have all the answers and must continue improving, welcoming challenge along the way. We will also use our voice and learnings to inspire positive change in others.

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