A line of hurdles

When the term sustainability comes to the fold, the first thought for many involves green-centric efforts — such as cutting carbon emissions, recycling and water conservation. As leading green cleaning advocate Stave Ashkin highlights in a recent post, however, sustainability also includes addressing inequalities, fair treatment of staff, and being mindful of economic issues. 

The benefits of successful sustainability programs are aplenty, as companies can enjoy improved staff retention, brand boosts and an overall increase in investors or customers, Ashkin notes. Yet getting sustainability programs off the ground can be tricky at times for any number of budgetary or procedural reasons. 

To overcome these potential challenges, Ashkin laid out several key strategies to help businesses prepare:

1. Defining a Vision. This includes clearly stating sustainability goals to staff and occupants, and implementing metrics that can show a proven improvement to retention, conservation practices and more. 

2. Monitoring Progress. Organization is key to the progression of any sustainability program, which makes tracking systems a valuable tool. Doing so can keep everyone on track with their roles in keeping a program thriving. It also can pinpoint shortcomings — and in many cases, all it takes is one oversight to shake the foundation of a sustainability program. 

3. Reinforcing the Message. A well-thought out and organized sustainability plan will only go as far as the support its given. The responsibility is on leaders throughout an organization to consistently champion the benefits sustainability will have. With the right encouragement, both staff and occupants alike are more likely to propose more ideas and buy-in to the requirements to get goals completed. 

Consistency is the key, Ashkin emphasizes. Making a one-time change won’t change the culture or make a sizable difference, and the benefits of successful sustainability won’t be enjoyed. For related content, check out this piece explaining why climate change deniers exist.