Environmental conditions are changing the legislative and business landscape, and your business is about to feel the pressure (and the cost). No matter your industry, your business will be confronted with new legal challenges, financial penalties, and shifting consumer priorities – and you will need someone to help you navigate this new terrain. We make the case for a Chief Sustainability Officer or creating partnerships with vendors that provide and prioritize sustainability.
You don’t need a Head Hippie in Charge, you need a keen professional with a dynamic understanding of sustainability and how these changes will affect your business.
Why now? Because the consequences are coming sooner than you think. You need a proactive resource so you’re not scrambling and paying the cost.
In theory, all businesses should want to go green for the dolphins and the rainbows, but realistically, other priorities take its place. Sustainability has not been a primary focus for most, but it’s about to force its way to the forefront via legislation, increasing costs, and changes in consumer behavior.
Your Chief Sustainability Officer should work across departments “to coordinate efforts to reduce your brand’s environmental impact from the ground up” (Financial Times), meeting these new challenges and guiding your organization. This includes internal and external environmental impact: supply chain analyses, facility services, and internal resources and practices, and more… tackling these issues in a way that keeps the company compliant, costs in control, and customers engaged.
You can also shift this responsibility and expertise to a third party. You can consider external sustainability consultants or take an evaluation of your current and future vendors, focusing on how they will help you maintain a functional and profitable level of sustainability.
Three states have distinct bans on plastic bags and twenty-four states have some type of restriction in the form of fees, taxes, distinct programs, or preemption. State lawmakers have introduced at least 95 bills in 2019 just related to plastic bags (Natl. Conference of State Legislatures) and sustainability policies are hot topics in the 2020 election.
A savvy CSO will know how to best protect your organization, meeting looming federal and state demands.
Failure to comply with new legislation can result in fines, an overzealous attempt to meet trends and legislation (without knowledge or specialty) can result in an overspend.
For example, full-service restaurants in California cannot serve plastic straws unless requested by the customer. Violators face a $25/day fine (Assembly Bill No. 1884), while a proposed bill could increase the fine to $1,000 or include jail time (USAToday).
Plastic straws generally cost a fraction of a cent per piece, but paper straws can cost up to 6¢ a piece. Meanwhile, pasta straws (straws made out of literal pasta) can cost 3¢ a piece, a tantalizing offer in comparison, but potentially harmful for those with a gluten sensitivity. A CSO will help you navigate your options.
The ideal CSO will find the balance between compliance and cost-effective solutions, like Enevo.
Enevo offers tech-powered waste services rooted in data, using their tech to increase sustainability and decrease costs simultaneously. The right CSO will have insight on what options will lead your business in the right direction.
Eliminating plastic straws is a nice gesture, but it soon won’t be enough from a PR perspective.
Consumers want and expect the brands they interact with to be sustainable: in 2013, 71% of Americans considered the environment when they shopped (Cone Comms.) and 66% of global consumers say they’re willing to pay more for sustainable brands (Nielsen).
As they look towards a more sustainable lifestyle, consumers are more likely to find sustainable replacements in their purchases rather than go zero-waste, solar-powered vegan. Nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) of consumers want brands to help them live sustainably (Futerra).
A proactive approach, and someone to guide that approach, will allow you to grow with your customers instead of chasing them down.
A designated CSO can seem like a drastic approach but may be a necessary one as we enter a greener era of carbon taxes, plastic bans, and greener customers. If your organization cannot accommodate a CSO, start by looking towards your vendors, current and future, and talk with them about their sustainable practices to ensure they align with your own – your business could depend on it.
At Enevo, we’re proud to pass along our green practices to our customers, making businesses worldwide greener. Utilizing our technology, we’re able to increase recycling diversion rates, decrease carbon emissions and litter, and create advanced sustainable waste programs – like food donation and supply chain analyses – all while increasing operational efficiency and decreasing costs.