Ready To Take Your Company’s Sustainability Practices to the Next Level?
by Leah Feor
Making the shift to operating a sustainable business is overwhelming at times. Sustainability is a broad field, one that can touch every angle of the business. Defining protocols and procedures is a great start, however you may wonder at times if you are really making an impact with these practices.
This is where a Sustainability Audit comes in handy. When an audit is conducted on present day operations, you can identify the building blocks necessary for a solid foundation which are already in place. These building blocks are leverage points for growth. Your company can strengthen and improve on these practices already in use.
The Audit will also serve as a means to identify gaps in your current operations which can be filled with best practices from your industry. Though every company is unique and different in how they operate, there are common grounds which can be utilized initially and then adapted to your specific needs and capabilities.
If we take paper waste reduction as an example you can see that the general concept of printing less will increase the eco-efficiency of operations. While it’s likely difficult to avoid printing altogether, it’s important to recognize that year after year you might be printing a certain form or report because it has always been done that way.
If you are a team leader, you can identify older procedures that need revamping as it may be possible that part of the protocol has rendered itself obsolete with the advancement of technology. To make things exciting in the workplace, you can add a fun contest into the mix between team members to see who can come up with the most impactful initiative to save paper.
No matter which area your team is working on improving, the process needs to start with an assessment or audit. This will allow you to measure your current performance in a particular area. The measured performance can then be used as a reference to gauge how much improvement happens over time.
Depending on time resources and inter-office expertise, internal audits can be conducted on some of the most obvious areas. However, your company will benefit immensely by calling in experts in the field of sustainability who can conduct an audit for your company.
This second option is a bit of an investment, but well worth it. Just think, the level of efficiency will be higher and they will know exactly what to look for when it comes to sustainability. Not to mention, team members of your company will learn something new from an external perspective.
As a former financial auditor I know that just the word audit can stir up worry around the office. However, it’s important to keep in mind that an audit is not out to find mistakes and place blame. It’s best to see it as an opportunity to identify areas for improvement.
If you’re looking to get things done in a more sustainable way within your company, perhaps it is time to consider finding out how you are performing, and how you can go about enhancing that performance.
“What gets measured (and clearly defined) does get done.”
― Mike Schmoker
About the Author – Leah Feor
With over 10 years of experience in sustainability and accountability, Leah brings a unique perspective on ecology, economy, and social impact. Having attended Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa, followed by a post graduate diploma in Environmental Management at Niagara College, working to balance a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals, is her utmost goal.