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10 essential steps for business sustainability in 2024



In 2024, sustainability is no longer a niche differentiator but an urgent imperative for businesses in all sectors. Even companies not traditionally associated with “green” initiatives are finding that adopting sustainable practices is crucial for their long-term success.

Below, 10 members from the Newsweek Expert Forum explore practical steps that any business can take to improve its sustainability efforts. From rethinking supply chains to implementing energy-efficient technologies, here are some effective and achievable strategies for any business to make a more positive environmental impact.

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1. Audit Your Facilities’ Energy Usage

Conducting a comprehensive facilities energy audit in 2024 can significantly reduce costs and environmental impact. It can also serve as a low-cost, actionable first step toward sustainability. – Alan Wozniak, Business Health Matters (BHM) Executive Consulting

2. Find Ways to Reduce Waste

One step all businesses can take to become more sustainable in 2024 and beyond, whether or not their brands are “eco-friendly,” is to simply reduce waste. The U.S. generated over 292 million short tons of municipal solid waste in 2018. The benefits of waste reduction range from energy savings to improvements in efficiency and productivity. – Lillian Gregory, The 4D Unicorn LLC

3. Commit to Digital Reforestation

Adopt the idea of digital reforestation, where for every digital service rendered or product sold, you pledge to invest in a renewable energy project or plant a tree. This approach not only leverages customer transactions for global reforestation but also offsets carbon footprints, turning routine business activities into eco-actions. It’s a commitment to sustainability that enhances brand image. – Dr. Kira Graves, Kira Graves Consulting

4. Source Products Sustainably

Regardless of the industry, businesses can increase their sustainability by responsibly sourcing their materials and products. That means choosing suppliers who incorporate sustainability in their business practices, use eco-friendly materials and consider the environmental impact of the supply chain. Responsible sourcing shows that you’re really committed to sustainability. – Gergo Vari, Lensa

5. Focus on Being Energy-Efficient

Embrace energy-efficient practices. This can involve investing in energy-saving technologies, optimizing building systems and promoting energy conservation behaviors among employees. By reducing energy consumption, companies can lower operational costs, decrease their carbon footprint and contribute positively to the environment while enhancing their reputation as socially responsible entities. – Anna Yusim, MD, Yusim Psychiatry, Consulting & Executive Coaching

6. Develop a Circular Recycling Program

Businesses can reduce their environmental footprint by implementing a comprehensive end-to-end circular recycling program. This program can minimize waste, encourage a culture of sustainability among employees and positively influence all aspects of the organization’s operations while also enhancing brand and stakeholder satisfaction. – Bala Sathyanarayanan, GREIF Inc.

7. Rethink Your Supply Chain Management Strategy

Implement a sustainability-focused supply chain management strategy that reduces the environmental impact of your supply chain operations. From sourcing materials to production processes, logistics and end-of-life disposal or recycling of products, this strategy can optimize operations. – Britton Bloch, Navy Federal

8. Look for Opportunities to Recycle

Sustainable business comes in many forms, but I’ve found it’s all the small measures that make the most difference and inspire employees and customers. The first step is to take a recycling audit. Look at everything you use and throw away in a week and see how it can be recycled. Some places even pay for recyclable items or donate money to recycling charitirites. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

9. Encourage a Low-Waste Office Culture

Avoid doing anything fancy. Sometimes all you need to do is to encourage your employees not to waste their time and company resources. Try not to slant it as an outward-facing marketing gimmick. If you instead try to cultivate a work culture that is in itself eco-friendly, that mindset will make its way into the products and services you produce. – Zain Jaffer, Zain Ventures

10. Assess Your Current Environmental Impact

Businesses looking to become more sustainable in the years ahead should consider conducting a comprehensive assessment of their supply chain. This involves evaluating the environmental impact of sourcing materials, manufacturing processes, transportation and distribution channels. This step is important regardless of whether a company is already considered an “eco-friendly” brand or not. – Tammy Sons, Tn Nursery