So, what is sustainability?
Sustainability refers to the practice of fulfilling our own needs without jeopardizing the chances of future generations to meet theirs. These “needs” are usually grouped into environmental, economic, and social needs and are often categorized as the three pillars of sustainability, although environmental sustainability is the most talked about. These pillars comprise a set of values that can help us make our way toward a sustainable future, one that supports the harmonious existence and cohabitation of generations to come.
Still, the definition of sustainability is broad and often vague, and in order for it to be relevant from a practical standpoint, it is important to place it in a specific context.
Why is sustainability relevant in the workplace?
The motivations behind sustainability and its implementation are subjective and manifold, but for most people, it all boils down to the type of future we are leaving for the generations to come. Taking care of our planet and society is a generational responsibility that is only increasing in importance and one that is pertinent in the workplace.
Sustainability now holds an important place in corporate agendas: according to recent IBV consumer research, 53% of surveyed organizations view environmental sustainability as one of their top priorities. This is in line with consumer behavior since today, 22% more consumers say environmental responsibility is very or extremely important when choosing a brand than in 2019, and 2 in 3 global respondents are willing to change their consumer behavior accordingly. Additionally, the 2021 Corporate Climate Crisis report from PLAY, which surveyed 1,000 employees, found that 77% of respondents would like their employers to be more transparent on environmental impact.
Thus, investors, employees, and consumers value companies with an environmentally friendly mindset, and our planet values them even more! In this way, being sustainable is a win-win situation for businesses: not only does it enhance their reputation, but it is also, and most importantly, the right thing to do.
Here’s how we promote and engage in ethical and environmentally friendly practices at Alumio:
- A hybrid workplace model that offers flexibility and autonomy to our employees while increasing their well-being and productivity.
- A shared office space that helps us share resources with other companies in the building.
- Green commuting by using public transport or our bicycles to get to and from the office whenever possible. Personal vehicles are one of the world's biggest sources of greenhouse gases and leading contributors to air pollution, with emissions rising every year. Walking and cycling to work, on the other hand, are much healthier options in every aspect and perfectly suitable in this country!
- Minimal use of paper in our day-to-day operations. In our mission to go paperless, we have reusable bathroom handtowels that replace single-use paper towels and use digital apps for our transactions, from e-signature software to cloud storage services and digital pay stubs. This is an alternative that also increases security by keeping everything in one place and stored securely online.
- Minimal use of plastic in our day-to-day operations. According to Plastic Oceans, we produce over 380 million tons of plastic every year, of which 50% is for single-use purposes and 10 million tons of which are dumped into our oceans. Reducing our use of plastic at the office and elsewhere is still a work in progress, but one we are committed to seeing through. We discourage the use of disposable products and provide employees with alternatives like reusable water bottles, cups, and cutlery.
- Vegan and vegetarian meal options for our employees. What we eat has a huge environmental impact. Scientists estimate that meat accounts for nearly 60% of all greenhouse gases from food production, more than twice the pollution of fruits, grains, and greens. The production of meat has a detrimental impact on our planet as the breeding, raising, and slaughtering of billions of animals demands copious amounts of natural resources, like fresh water and land, and generates massive amounts of waste and pollution. By offering plant-based options, we encourage employees to consider this healthier alternative.
- Energy-efficient practices. Using energy-efficient alternatives is a great way to promote sustainability in the workplace. We implement such practices at the office through the use of LED lamps since they are a far more durable, ecologically conscious, and cost-efficient option that can last up to 25 times longer and use but a fraction of the energy that traditional incandescent light bulbs do.
In conclusion, a business can't be future-proof if sustainability isn’t part of the equation.
Encouraging sustainability in the workplace requires the engagement of all employees; it is a team effort and not an individual battle. For this reason, at Alumio, we encourage conversations around the topic of sustainability that can lead to implementing newer and better strategies. A company cannot become sustainable overnight, but we must do our bit to contribute. With several sustainable objectives in mind, we are determined to continue working towards our mission to leave the world a better place.