How can we understand sustainable operations better?

sustainable operations, women in a warehouse

With 88 percent of customers being more loyal to businesses that take action on environmental and social issues, it makes business sense to operate more sustainably. Every business, whether big or small, has a climate impact, and we all need to make changes to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. Sustainability is not just a marketing scheme to acquire more customers. 

Climate change is reshaping the operating environment for businesses. Many enterprises globally are already addressing sustainability in regard to how they operate. However, some have the desire to become more eco-friendly but are not sure how or where to get started. In this article, we’ll be looking at sustainable operations and how you can run your business in a more eco-conscious way. 

What does it mean to operate sustainably?

Environmental sustainability in the business environment refers to making responsible decisions that will lessen your business’ adverse effects on the planet. Sustainability itself involves fulfilling the needs of the people currently living on the planet without compromising the needs of future generations. Within this, we also have to strike a balance between social well-being, environmental care, and economic growth. 

For an organisation to operate more sustainability, it must review its entire supply chain and implement practices that are more environmentally sound. Additionally, greening previous or current strategies. A good example of sustainable operations in action would be working exclusively with suppliers who share your mission and vision concerning the environment. Additionally, switching out systems for ones that prioritise conservation and are more energy efficient. 

It’s also important to comprehend there are two kinds of practices that fall under the sustainability umbrella. These are green operations and social operations. Green operations practices are all about eliminating pollutant emissions and reducing our consumption of natural resources. Social operations practices are about enhancing employees’ working conditions and focusing on the health and safety initiatives within a workplace environment. 

How are sustainable operations good for business?

Sustainable operations are about more than addressing climate change; it is also good for business. According to The International Journal of Operations & Production Management, sustainable operations help businesses gain a competitive advantage. Moreover, there are significant customer and human-resource benefits from going green. Implementing sustainable operations practices helps an enterprise have a more positive and stronger relationship with its customers. 

Adopting these strategies also helps to enhance employees’ motivation to achieve the organisation’s mission and vision. It makes a lot of sense when you consider the importance today’s customers place on sustainability. Additionally, it is not surprising it would be easier to retain and attract talent when working hard to ensure high health and safety standards are followed in the workplace. Besides the above, incorporating these practices also improves brand visibility, boosts brand awareness, and enhances brand image. These advantages only result in more sales, trust, and repeat purchases from both new and old customers. 

Summary 

There are many actions businesses can take to make their business operations adhere to a sustainable design. Firstly, investing in social and sustainable operations practices is key. This will allow you to address the climate crisis but also avail of some of the benefits referenced above that come along with placing a focus on sustainability. Ultimately, enterprises need to look at sustainable operations as a win-win scenario that enhances social and environmental progress but also offers external and internal advantages. 

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