Global environmental awareness is increasing – if you’re a business owner, you should start paying attention too. Now more than ever before, the expectations are high for businesses to have sustainability initiatives in place. The pressure is being put forth by consumers, partners, and employees.

In fact, 88% of employees believe it is no longer acceptable for companies to just make money; companies must positively impact society as well. In another survey, 83% of millennials said they’d be more loyal to a workplace that prioritized greener living and addressed environmental issues head-on.

Conscious consumerism is becoming more mainstream, and prospective customers and employees are looking for certain commitments when deciding where to work or shop. To make sure you’re on the right side of their list (and to obviously help our precious planet), there are countless green initiatives you can adopt as a business owner in 2024.

Need to Skim? Key Takeaways

  • Consumers and employees increasingly demand businesses to have sustainability initiatives, with a strong preference for companies that positively impact society.
  • Businesses can (and should) adopt practices like partnering with sustainable vendors, promoting recycling, going paperless, and encouraging green commuting and remote work.
  • Sustainable practices improve brand image, enhance competitive advantage, boost employee retention and productivity, reduce costs, and minimize waste.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Workplace Sustainability?
  2. Sustainability Initiatives to Add to Your Workplace
  3. Benefits of Implementing Sustainability Initiatives in Your Office
  4. How Imprint Engine Builds Sustainable Brand Experiences
  5. Imprint Engine Can Help with Your Sustainability Initiatives

What is Workplace Sustainability?

Workplace sustainability is the commitment to environmentally-conscious business practices. These practices range from small actions in the office like recycling or installing energy-efficient lighting to larger business practices like partnering exclusively with eco-friendly vendors, establishing a program to repurpose old or unused products, or setting aside profits to put towards an environmental cause.

Sustainability Initiatives to Add to Your Workplace

At Imprint Engine, we’ve implemented extra steps and initiatives like our Imprint Impact program to help alleviate our industry’s reputation for being wasteful. And at the forefront of our mission is our commitment to creating the most premium products and experiences possible. We believe the most important step towards sustainability is making things people actually want to keep, ensuring products stay out of the trash altogether.

There are resources and options for every kind of business to become more eco-friendly — even our fellow promotional companies. Regardless of your industry, there are plenty of easy, attainable changes you can make to get the whole office on board with going greener. 

1. Partner with sustainable vendors 

You are only as environmentally conscientious as the companies you choose to partner with. Working with vendors who prioritize sustainability is a tedious but powerful testament to your commitment to the planet. By doing this, you also bring awareness to your customers about what programs or green initiatives they, too, can be a part of. 

We’ve spent years developing strong relationships with a long list of vendors and suppliers who match our enthusiasm about putting Earth first. 

2. Promote the powerful “3 R’s”

You know the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Applying these three actions in your workplace can take form in a number of ways. By simply giving employees the option to recycle their paper, plastic, or aluminum, you can keep the waste accumulated in your office out of landfills. Opting for eco-friendly cleaning products and biodegradable office supplies can help your team ditch the harsh chemicals, and providing washable kitchenware like utensils, bowls, and plates will encourage people to reconsider using disposable products

Investing in a purified water station so employees can drink from reusable cups or bottles is another easy way to cut down on single-use waste. We make sure everyone in our office gets their hands on quality, reusable drinkware that is theirs to keep so they can stay hydrated without wasting water or plastic.

3. Go paperless or use deforestation-free paper

In this digital age, going paperless isn’t an unreasonable goal. Sending digital briefs, paperwork, or presentations so employees can view them on laptops or tablets is a simple way to cut down on needless printouts. And because the average office worker generates about 2 pounds of paper waste per day, consider investing in paperless notebooks for your avid notetakers to reduce the volume of paper that inevitably gets dumped in the bin.

According to a McKinsey survey, 59% of businesses that went paperless achieved full ROI in less than 12 months, with 84% achieving payback in less than 18 months. This transition also leads to a nearly 30% increase in staff productivity and eliminates 10% of IT-related energy use associated with printing.

Going completely paperless may be difficult or impossible for some companies, but purchasing deforestation-free paper is a great way to at least minimize your impact.

4. Measure your carbon footprint and set realistic goals

Knowing where you stand is the first step to making purposeful changes. By measuring your carbon footprint, you will have a better idea of where to focus your sustainable efforts and be able to set realistic goals and track your progression over time. 

There are plenty of online tools and formulas to calculate your carbon footprint, but to get a general idea, think about what you and your employees do on a daily basis and in which areas you believe your company emits the most greenhouse gasses. Once you know which emissions need offsetting, develop a plan with clear objectives.

5. Invest in motion sensors for office lighting

Not only do motion sensors help you save on electric bills, automated lighting is extremely energy efficient. This also relieves the last person at the office of their responsibility to turn off all the lights at the end of the day.

6. Encourage biking, walking, and public transit for nearby commuters

If employees live near the office, incentivize a more sustainable commute to work! Biking, public transit, and walking (if safe), are great alternatives for not only the planet, but each individual’s health and productivity. 

7. Implement a flexible remote work policy

If your company allows, offering flexibility to work from home is another great way to cut down on commuter emissions. This working model also saves costs on energy, supplies, snacks, or other in-person office expenses.

8. Be clear with your partners about sustainability requirements

When sustainability is a core value of your company, it should be a core value of those you bring in as vendors or suppliers. Raise the topic of sustainability when communicating with potential partners to make sure their organization is aligned with similar environmental priorities. Like Imprint Impact, companies may have programs in place to donate excess products to charity organizations or upcycle old materials into new products with longer life cycles.

9. Share sustainability tips and information with your team

What good is all your new knowledge if you don’t share it? Make sure your team is aware of your company’s efforts by communicating your actions or changes with everyone! By including your green initiatives in quarterly meetings or sending out a periodic newsletter that informs employees about new practices being implemented, the entire team will feel part of the journey and more inclined to contribute their own efforts. 

When environmentalism becomes part of your business strategy, it must trickle out to every member of the team in order to be effective. So keep folks in the loop and don’t hesitate to share any statistics, fun facts, or inspirational news that you come across! 

Benefits of Implementing Sustainability Initiatives in Your Office

The ultimate goal of implementing sustainable practices is to contribute to a growing effort to heal our planet. It’s important to recognize the difference between Going Green and Greenwashing, but any steps towards a more eco-friendly workplace are steps in the right direction. 

Besides contributing to a healthier environment and earning trust and respect from consumers and employees, workplace sustainability directly benefits your company on several levels. Green initiatives can result in lower operational costs, a reduced carbon footprint, competitive advantages, higher employee retention rates, and an overall better business performance. Here are a few benefits we’ve noticed from our sustainability program: 

Better brand image and enhanced competitive advantage

Consumer behavior is shifting towards more sustainable companies. More consumers are making purchasing decisions based on personal, environmental, and social values. 51% of consumers say environmental sustainability is even more important to them today than it was 12 months ago. But “going green”  doesn’t only improve brand image in the eyes of consumers. 83% of workers think their current employer is not doing enough to become greener.

Greater employee recruiting and retention

People want to work for companies that support environmental programs. This is partially because of the belief that a more sustainable employer is more likely to care for them and do meaningful work. In fact, young people today are actively choosing to work for employers with sustainability at the forefront of how they operate, with many even willing to take a pay cut to do so. When employees are happy and engaged, companies inevitably see increased productivity and profit.

Increased productivity

Sustainable practices boost morale, and positive morale dramatically boosts productivity. Research shows that happy employees are more productive, generate higher sales, and are more creative than those who are unaligned with their employers. Like many green offices, we scatter real plants throughout our building and make sure everyone has access to natural lighting. These small actions can help create a happier environment to ultimately improve employee output. 

Reduced business costs

Sustainability often reflects positively on your business costs. Opting for automated, energy-efficient lighting, investing in more efficient heating and cooling systems, or swapping for eco-friendly insulation are all changes that translate to an overall reduction in operational costs. 

Waste reduction 

Environmentally-friendly practices result in one of the most priceless benefits: waste reduction. Investing in paperless technology, reusable drinkware, or simple recycling receptacles will in turn save water, keep needless paper and plastic waste out of landfills, and create healthy habits among your team. 

How Imprint Engine Builds Sustainable Brand Experiences 

We know firsthand how powerful of a business tool sustainability really is, as we pride ourselves in our network of eco-friendly vendors and our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint as a global operation. 

Being in the promotional industry, we’re well aware of our potential to negatively impact the environment. That’s why we’ve set up headquarters all over the world to prevent unnecessary shipping and importing. It’s why we encourage remote work to minimize commuting. We offer employee health perks to encourage healthy lifestyles, we partner exclusively with likeminded vendors, and we take all the recommended steps to reduce waste within our offices. Most of all, we don’t add more junk to the world. We only produce quality products that are too cool to toss in the trash.

Imprint Engine Can Help with Your Sustainability Initiatives

We’re eager to work with companies that want to grow greener—both in environmental and profitability terms.

Get in touch to learn more about Imprint Impact or to start collaborating on your next sustainability initiative.