Sustainability as an Organizational Strategy

By Hailey LeclercMarch 3, 2022Last updated on April 22, 2023Business

Editors note: In honor of Earth Day 2023, we're re-publishing this piece about how organizations can pivot their businesses toward more sustainable practices. We hope it will be an inspiring reminder that small differences can lead to great impact.

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Sustainability is a term that can be appropriately applied to many facets of life, though it has only recently become an important benchmark for businesses. Despite its increasing prevalence in business strategies, it can be difficult to ascertain which aspects of sustainability to prioritize in your business, leaving many feeling hesitant when it comes to developing an effective organizational plan for sustainable products and services. Luckily, there are a few key objectives to keep in mind when it comes to setting and achieving sustainability goals that will make the entire process of developing a sustainable model not only simpler but also more motivating.

Why Sustainability is a Must For Businesses of the Future

Before diving into how exactly an effective strategy is formed, it is necessary to keep in mind why sustainability is such a vital aspect when it comes to stimulating business success. Firstly, sustainability is a value that is becoming increasingly important for customers when choosing which businesses to purchase from. According to the article “Eco-wakening: How customers are driving sustainability” by the World Economic Forum, in a survey conducted, “66% of all respondents, and 75% of millennial respondents, said they consider sustainability when making a purchase.” Therefore, making the effort to invest in sustainable practices can significantly drive sales and improve customer satisfaction, resulting in long term profit despite the potential increased economic costs of sustainable services.

Similarly, a sustainable business strategy can be a great way to attract the top employees in your industry to your business. Potential recruits are much more likely to work for a company that shares values and has greater purposes beyond the scope of the workspace as opposed to a business that is solely focused on its product.

Most importantly, a sustainable organizational strategy is simply an ethical practice that can solidify your business’ integrity and commitment to bettering society. In a time where climate change and the depletion of natural resources are on the forefront of people’s minds, sustainable business practices can be a great way to enact positive, tangible change on the immediate world around us and truly make a difference in the lives of others.

For more information on why sustainability is such an important business concept, check out our sustainable business practices in digital marketing blog post detailing promising data points that support the incorporation of more sustainable procedures.

How to Develop an Organizational Strategy Centered Around Sustainability

Developing an organizational strategy centered around sustainability does not have to be as intimidating as it may sound. Check out the below four tips for creating a well-rounded strategy that doesn’t dissuade from your company’s product goals.

1. Put Your Customer First

In “A Guide to Profitable Growth” Issuu CEO, Joe Hyrkin, details the importance of putting the customer first: “Customers rely on you. They are building their own businesses and if you can help them in a real way, they will pay for that help. Profitable growth means stability for you, your customers, and your employees… creating a relationship of trust and mutual benefit.” 

Start off creating your sustainability plan by prioritizing customer needs and desires. This can be done by requesting customer feedback (if you have not done so already) and making sure their preferences are considered in your business strategy. Specifically asking them about sustainability and their views on it can also be a great way to gauge customer priorities. 

2. What Does Sustainability Mean For You?

Sustainability is a very broad term, so it is important to create specific, reasonable goals tailored to your business. For example, if you are in the publishing industry, think of ways in which you can make your content production more sustainable (i.e, perhaps switching to a digital format as opposed to printing out thousands of copies). By being purposeful with your sustainability strategy, you can make a positive impact on the environment without being overwhelmed by unrealistic goals

3. Think Long Term

While it can be frustrating to not see an immediate impact, keep in mind that sustainability is a long term objective. Change is extremely unlikely to come overnight; rather, consistency and perseverance will lead you to seeing positive results in the months and years to come. Trust in the sustainability strategy you’ve developed and remember the reasons why you decided to make a switch to more sustainable services in the beginning.

4. Track Your Progress

Finally, be sure to track your progress! By collecting data and determining trends and patterns over time, you will be able to get a sense of whether your plan is proving to be successful or adjustments are needed. After a while, it will also be incredibly satisfying to look back and see how much progress your business has made towards reaching its sustainability goals.

Spotlight on Issuu’s Sustainability Strategy

As a digital publishing company with a desire to give back to the community and help foster positive environmental change, Issuu has helped to reduce paper production all across the world. We have saved millions of trees worldwide as a result of Issuu’s digital platform, which has also provided customers with a simple way to introduce sustainability into their content strategies.

In addition to saving trees, Issuu has also taken steps to help in the fight against climate change by planting them. In honor of Earth Day 2021, Issuu offered a program where new Issuu signups would receive 25% off their plan when we planted a tree on their behalf. The program was very successful as hundreds of trees were planted around local communities to celebrate our beautiful world.

Lastly, Issuu is home to many users who share similar values of sustainability and environmental justice. Check out The Sustainable Business Review and The Sustainable Business Magazine for more inspiration and ideas to assimilate sustainable practices into an all-encompassing business organizational strategy.

Get started incorporating sustainable business practices by joining Issuu  today to publish digital content that helps to preserve the environment
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