Embedding sustainable practices in the workplace: Advice for businesses

With Net Zero targets and increasing energy costs impacting many businesses and employees, inspiring sustainable practices and investing in solutions that encourage employee awareness and produce positive results could be becoming more of a priority. 

As part of Wave’s social and sustainability promise, we partnered with Alaya by Benevity, a great platform for doing good, and by embedding it into our culture we’ve seen some great engagement from our staff in just over a year. Plus, by embracing a little healthy competition, our people have saved 177,818 litres of water and 97,350 kg of carbon, as well as completing 278 hours of volunteering at both local and national charities in 2022 and donating almost £800 to charities of their choice.

If you’re looking to implement an ESG or CSR strategy, or if you simply want to play an active role in encouraging good practices in the workplace, we’ve got some tips that have worked for us.

Choose a solution that’s right for your business

There are lots of options out there, so do your research and pick a solution that’s in line with your business targets, vision (and budget), whether that’s adding value to your local community, reducing your carbon footprint, or working towards a larger goal. Some businesses may want to start small, setting challenges and opportunities in-house, or if you can, consider investing in a digital platform. 

Set yourself some targets

Think about what matters to your business and if you have specific company goals or initiatives you need everyone to work towards. Perhaps water or energy saving is your main goal, or you’d like to support the local community. Maybe you’d like to specifically target your Scope 1-3 emissions, or focus on staff engagement and monitor take up.

Find opportunities that matter

If, like us, you have social and sustainability goals to work towards, charity donations and volunteering may be on the forefront of your mind. Offering opportunities with local charities and trusts that matter to your people are a great way to get involved and give back to the community. 

Embrace competitive spirit

People love a bit of healthy competition! Taking part in challenges is great, but seeing where you sit on a leaderboard can really encourage that competitive spirit and help get people involved. Our staff have completed over 1,200 challenges so far, in categories ranging from sustainability to wellbeing. Setting challenges with measurable savings that your people can do at work and at home, such as using a reusable bottle for a month or not using their dryer for a week, can encourage them to adopt a more sustainable way of life and consider the impact of their everyday actions.

Keep talking about it

You’ve settled on your solution and set yourself some targets and key focus areas, but there’s still one more step – keeping it at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Try tying in your challenges with awareness days and months such as Veganuary or Net Zero Week. It’ll help generate healthy competition and staff will be more likely to share their stories, encouraging others to take part. Regular communication will result in more participants, which will help you to reach your business goals.

Every action your business takes, whether it’s supporting a cause, encouraging a more sustainable way of life or improving wellbeing and diversity, has a positive impact on your people and our society and environment. So if this is a focus for your business, make sure you can monitor and measure what you’re doing and how it contributes towards your sustainability goals.