by Dennis Schroder, the founder of SeraScript
Although most business objectives aren’t made with the environment’s welfare in mind, they should be. Many companies are at least becoming more aware of sustainability practices. They are trying to balance doing their part to care for the environment and meeting their business objectives. The concept of sustainability is quickly becoming the focus of strategic planning processes for many businesses.
Developing a cost-effective business sustainability strategy helps businesses reduce costs, paper waste, and carbon emissions while staying compliant with current environmental regulations. This guide will discuss what issues businesses face related to sustainability and list ways digital systems can help companies to reach those goals.
Ways to Address Sustainability Issues
From increasing efficiency and adding brand value to meeting consumer demands, attracting talent, and creating new business opportunities, businesses can reap many rewards when they address sustainability issues. In today’s increasingly digital world, creating a sustainable company is easier than ever.
Sustainability must be included in your company mission statement. The purpose of the mission statement is to identify the most important values that your organization strives to uphold every day. When you include sustainability in your mission statement and back it up with actionable behavior, you demonstrate your brand’s commitment to the environment.
The best way to support any initiative is by encouraging employees to engage in the process, and a sustainability initiative is no exception. Create a “green” program task force or similar committee comprised of employees whose duties are to develop companywide sustainability-focused programs. When employees take ownership of their programs’ results, they will become more engaged in the process and help spread an eco-friendly mindset throughout the company.
Prioritize Waste Reduction.
One of the best and most impactful ways to focus on sustainability efforts is to prioritize waste reduction. Finding ways to minimize waste throughout the day and across the organization will not only increase efficiency in work processes but will make you a faithful caregiver to the environment. For example, manufacturing companies should consider implementing Six Sigma or similar lean manufacturing concepts into their daily production activities.
Ways Digitization Can Help Companies Meet Sustainability Goals
Today’s technologies help businesses create more ambitious sustainability objectives in several ways. Digitization leads to higher efficiency by optimizing and automating processes and energy management, allowing leaders to design and implement a successful corporate sustainability strategy. When sustainability and digitization are effectively integrated and aligned, they drive broader, more significant change. According to Accenture, when companies integrate sustainable digital transformations into their value chains and operations, they have more than double the chance of finding themselves among the best-performing businesses of the future than those that don’t. Here are the top three ways digitization can help companies meet sustainability goals.
Reduces Paper Waste.
Going paperless is one of the best ways for anyone to reduce their carbon footprint and help care for the planet. Businesses use tons of paper, so the impact is significant when your company commits to going paperless.
Paper production destroys many trees and uses a significant quantity of water and chemicals, creating a lot of waste and carbon emissions. Rapid deforestation is taking place to keep up with the high demand for paper in the United States. Harvesting all these trees increases the risk of soil erosion and negatively impacts the wildlife populations where the trees are harvested. Furthermore, when trees are harvested from residential communities, they become exposed to higher levels of air and water pollution because fewer trees absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen in the area. Deforestation due to paper production is also a significant contributor to climate change.
Another significant paper-related threat to the environment is waste disposal. Humans in the United States and other developed nations print far more paper documents on average than we need. The excess paper gets thrown out and accumulates in landfills, becoming a significant component of municipal solid waste. When it begins to decompose, it releases toxic methane into the atmosphere while leeching ink into soil and water sources.
The environmental damage caused by these processes can be avoided – or at least significantly reduced – if more businesses and people, in general, would take greater advantage of all the benefits digitization offers.
Reduces Carbon Emissions.
Paper production continues to have an environmental impact even after trees are harvested. First, paper and pulp manufacturing create greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to pollution. According to the EPA, approximately 70% of greenhouse gas emissions come from paper and pulp manufacturers – and the remaining 30% are emitted through other paper-related processes and products.
In recent years, utilities have begun accelerating global decarbonization through clean electrification, which offsets some of the pollution caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Digital transformation is a critical component in this process, replacing electricity produced by fossil fuels with renewable sources, such as solar, wind, and hydro powers. Digital transformation is helping connect consumers to these electrical ecosystems to deliver clean energy in reliable and safe ways.
The mere act of committing to digital document storage and going paperless significantly reduces business expenses alone. Still, there are other ways in which digitization can help a business reduce its costs.
Remote monitoring and computer vision led by artificial intelligence can help an organization predict, see, and prevent issues that amount to lost resources. These technologies also have the ability to use analytics and operational data to perform condition-based maintenance, thus reducing losses due to maintenance issues and downtime. This improved asset management can also help businesses cut down on excess inventory. Lastly, organizations can cut back on energy costs by homing in on minor problems before they escalate into energy-draining issues.
Make a Change
Digitization makes it much less challenging for businesses to develop impactful sustainability strategies. Simply by reducing paper waste and cutting back on factors that contribute to carbon emissions, businesses can significantly impact the well-being of the environment. Make a change today by taking advantage of digital document storage to reduce paper waste, engage your employees in the process, and forge ahead with an effective business sustainability strategy that impacts your business and the planet for good.
Dennis Schroder is the founder of SeraScript, a secure and blockchain-verifiable document platform. With Dennis’ background in SharePoint and Document management platforms and financial services he saw a need for secure and verifiable platform to store documents for his customers. SeraScript was developed with these features in mind.