Research shows that 90% of customers expect businesses to address social and environmental issues. With Gen Z influencing purchasing decisions and accounting for a larger portion of the workforce, many businesses are examining how to improve sustainability.

By embracing sustainable practices, companies not only demonstrate ethical responsibility but also position themselves for long-term success. Specifically, environmental stewardship can lead to a stronger reputation, cost savings, and the ability to attract top talent.

Make Sustainability Part of Your Mission

Companies that claim to be sustainable without making deep changes run the risk of greenwashing. Remember diet drinks that claim to be healthier without making substantive changes to their ingredients?  

To avoid this, businesses must clearly define their priorities and develop strategies to implement them effectively. Just like the trees we want to plant, corporate efforts toward sustainability must be deeply rooted. Here are three actionable strategies on how to improve sustainability in business:

  • Include sustainability in your mission statement. This will cement sustainable practices at the heart of your business and make them part of your company’s rally cry.
  • Include sustainability in your core values. Core values challenge employees to embody sustainability and set an example for competitors. A few tangible examples of ways to practice this value include working with like-minded partners and using ethically sourced materials.
  • Include sustainability in your brand language. Your brand articulates what your business is, why it exists, and what it stands for. Take the opportunity to highlight your company’s commitment to sustainability in your tagline and value proposition, and display sustainability certifications to enhance brand credibility.

Educate Employees About the Importance of Sustainability

Educating employees about sustainability isn’t just about compliance — it’s about fostering a shared vision for a better future. When employees know how to improve sustainability in business and feel empowered to contribute, they become advocates for change.

  • Integrate sustainability into new employee onboarding. Kickstart every new hire’s journey with sustainability goals. Help them align with your core values from the beginning, orienting them to company norms like recycling.  
  • Host an annual company-wide sustainability summit. A day of learning and brainstorming brings employees together to discuss sustainability, celebrate successes, and innovate. 
  • Include sustainability updates in regular internal communications.Keep the momentum going with regular newsletters. Highlighting ongoing projects and celebrating milestones reminds everyone of their role in sustainability efforts. You could include educational tidbits, share facts about company power usage, or offer interactive quizzes.

Involve Everyone in Sustainability Initiatives

Welcome to the company melting pot, where cross-functional collaboration among marketing, tech, sales, finance, and other departments brings diverse perspectives and innovation. 

By engaging with your company’s sustainability goals early and regularly, individuals become more invested. According to the Harvard Business Review, small tasks over time increase buy-in from individuals.  

  • Organize a company-wide community service project. Plan a day for the company to volunteer for local causes. This can benefit the community and strengthen your team cohesion. Service projects empower employees with tangible experiences like planting trees or seeing structures rebuilt in real life.
  • Offer charitable giving opportunities. Create a donation matching program that encourages employees to contribute to environmental and social causes.
  • Donate unneeded office items. Implement a redistribution program for surplus office supplies, donating to local schools or non-profits as a way to reduce waste. Consider teaming up with a brand merchandise company that donates to local community charities. 

Partner with Sustainable Vendors

Upcycling, recycling, biodegradable, compostable, fair trade, reduced CO2 emissions, organic, non-GMO — with a lot of complex environmental terminology, it can be challenging to know who is certified, who to trust, and how to vet your partners. Here are a few differentiators to look out for:

  • Quality items: Opt for products that people will cherish. Partner with a distributor like Imprint Engine, where we believe sustainability and quality are synonymous. Luxury items like massage guns for frequent travelers or high-end organic pants for remote workers don’t usually end up in the trash.
  • Eco-friendly packaging: Prioritize suppliers who use biodegradable packaging, recycled materials, eco-friendly ink, and minimalist designs. Packaging matters — it’s an extension of your commitment to sustainability.
  • Local suppliers: Reduce pollution from shipping by choosing local suppliers. Not only does this benefit the environment, but it also invests in your local community. Our global account management team can seamlessly produce, store, and fulfill brand experiences across the globe, with teams in North America, Europe, and APC.

Imprint Engine offers a streamlined solution to sustainable merchandising. We’re your one-stop shop for creating top-tier brand experiences while prioritizing people and the planet. With our pre-vetted vendors, we’ll help you strategize and create merchandise for trade shows, client gifting, or employee appreciation. Reach out to us — we’re here to help!