Shaping a sustainable post-COVID-19 business 

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

in hospitals

Sustainability occupies the most important position in the post-COVID-19 world. We’ve been able to see what happens to the Earth when we’re not careful and, needless to say, we wouldn’t want a crisis of a similar debilitating scale. The world needs fresh water, cleaner air, and smog-free cities. As we’re slowly but surely returning to activity, decisions need to be made with sustainability in mind. There’s no better time than now to think about the impact of human activity on the planet. Millennials, as well as luxury consumers are motivated by environmental and social concerns, preferring the non-polluting options. 

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Corporations need to understand once and for all that it’s not feasible to do “business as usual” it’s necessary to eliminate the typical boundaries and invest in sustainability initiatives. The question now is: What can be done to make the world a better reality? Given that the COVID-19 crisis offers a window of opportunity for making sustainability transitions, it’s best to take advantage of it. Spend today solving the problems of tomorrow. Please continue reading to discover how you can contribute towards building a more resilient business on the other side of the pandemic. 

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Encourage remote working even after the fight against COVID-19 is over 

While some firms have already made the transition towards removing working prior to the coronavirus outbreak, others were forced to make drastic changes when the lockdown came into effect. The change in working practices has positive implications for businesses, as employees are more productive, which allows companies to focus on performance. If you ignore the hiccups and hurdles that come along the way, remote work is a good thing, especially for the planet. There’s no need to commute, so we’re talking about fewer greenhouse gas emissions and reduced fuel usage. When you don’t run an office, the energy costs almost disappear. Let employees telecommute even when the global pandemic is over. 

Be an advocate for cleaner transport 

Some businesses aren’t well-positioned to adapt to social distancing policies. Those who don’t have the option to work remotely (retail, restaurants, and manufacturing) have to be present. not only is it necessary to enforce sanitary health practices but also to be an advocate for cleaner transport. Many travel by private car to reduce their chances of being infected with COVID-19, not realizing that car pollution is the primary cause of global warming. Public transit and carpooling are the greener alternatives, yet there’s the risk of contagion and being stuck in an enclosed space for a long time. Employees should be encouraged to cycle to work to promote a healthy commute. Provide monetary bonuses or purchase bikes from the employees’ gross salary before it’s taxed. Cycling will reduce carbon dioxide emissions. What is more, cycling considerably reduces traffic congestion. 

Set a target to halve your office food waste 

Surprising or not, a great deal of food is wasted between the farm and the plate. A typical organization sends 1.5 tons of food to the landfill each year. Offices across the globe are tossing away food in the trash every day and that adds up. Individual actions are a big contributor to the problem. The box of leftovers you forgot in the fridge and didn’t eat during the day ends up in the landfill and generates methane gas. Try to reduce office food loss and have an effective waste management solution in place. If you’re already collecting food waste, it’s a good idea to install a recycling baler, which is space-saving, low-cost equipment. It will allow you to go green and reduce your waste impact. 

Separating food waste from general waste is recommended because it can be used to make biogas, compost, and so on. Most importantly, preach the importance of overconsumption. The last thing you want is to open the office refrigerator and see plastic food containers and week-old boxes of food that will eventually be thrown to the trash. Have a weekly meeting and make people aware of the consequences of throwing away food. You can take advantage of this opportunity to discuss other environmental priorities. Making just a few changes can completely change the office culture. 

Cultivate extraordinary partnerships 

Strategic partnerships are an opportunity to grow and improve your business. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s necessary to work with partners, that is, if you’d like to have an extraordinary impact. You can learn best practices from one another, identify inefficiencies, and discover hidden skill sets. If we take a closer look at Denmark, we’ll see that the government and private companies strike sustainable partnerships, striving to find solutions to diminish CO2 emissions. It’s worth following in the footsteps of the Danes, even though they set the bar pretty high. Team up with a governmental agency or an NGO from the same industry and pool your resources. 

Consider making a local hospital your partner. Over the past years, businesses large and small have struggled to lend a helping hand to healthcare providers with sustainability initiatives. Your efforts can contribute to a healthier environment, not to mention that it can change the public’s perception about your organization. In hospitals, disposing of biomedical waste such as gloves and used plastic packaging is a big problem. If you’re a local business and you want to help, know that hospital resources are limited and the healthcare facility may not be able to afford to purchase a recycling baler or anything else. Offering financial assistance is the right thing to do.  

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Say YES to green capitalism 

The health crisis is forcing us to rethink capitalism, which doesn’t offer too much confidence in the future. Living standards have stagnated and inequality has risen; let’s not even talk about the climate change that poses a risk to future prosperity. The primary raison d’être of capitalism used to be improving the lives of others and maybe it’s time to come back to the basics. In other words, it’s essential to manage economic activities in such a way that they don’t have a negative impact on the human world. Firms should make a commitment to a better future. New business models, innovation, and technological progress can save the environment and facilitate capital accumulation.  

To sum up, the call for corporate sustainability is louder than ever. The new reality is driving sustainable behavior. It’s impossible to go back to business as usual. Even if some things will go back to normal, it won’t be the situation that we’re used to. If you want your company to create long-term value, take into consideration the way you operate. Focus your attention on ethical, social, cultural, environmental, and economic dimensions of doing business. You can satisfy your basic necessities without making it hard for future generations to meet their needs.