When I launched betternotstop as an ‘official’ business it was to help business owners avoid burnout through travel experiences. I had no idea a global pandemic would end up pivoting my business into a sustainability consultancy. Working as a Sustainability consultant allows me to have an impact on making the world a better place. It also allows me to work with others who also want to create a better future.
What is a Sustainability Consultant (and Why Does it Matter)?
Sustainability consultants help companies and businesses become more socially and environmentally responsible. Having a successful business is not just about how much money you make. It’s also important that what you are doing is good for people and the planet. This idea is called ‘Triple Bottom Line’ in economics.
A worldwide study shows that 92% of consumers are trying to live more sustainably. 83% will pick a brand with a better record of sustainability. Of these, 70% will pay more for products and services if they protect the environment. Which means that by becoming more sustainable is good for business. By letting their customers know about it, they can be more profitable and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Why should businesses have Sustainability Consultants?
Let me introduce you to something you may not have heard of before. Earth Overshoot Day. Earth Overshoot day is the day of the year in which humans’ demand on nature exceeds the earth’s capacity to regenerate. Ideally, this would be 31st December every year. Unfortunately, it has been getting earlier and earlier since 1970. In 2019 it was July 19 and 2020 was August 22. This may look like we are doing a good job of improving the situation on earth. But this increase in time was not by design but by the disaster of the global pandemic on economic growth. The graph below shows how bad the situation is getting.
Doing less harm is no longer enough. The future of sustainability lies in regeneration: seeking to restore and replenish what we have lost, to build economies and communities that thrive, and that allows the planet to thrive too.
What kind of things can Sustainability Consultants do?
A sustainability consultants job is to help a company move forward with creating, developing and implementing a strategic plan. They work with businesses who may not have the expertise or time internally to do it.
Personally, I specialise in helping businesses become BCorp Certified, create internal processes to improve their environmental and social impact as well as creating sustainability metrics they can use to see how it affects and increases their company profits. Sustainability Consultants can also:
- Help develop an overall sustainability audit and plan for a company.
- Assess a company’s environmental impact through its carbon footprint, energy, waste, supply chain and more.
- Look at ways to reduce its resource footprint.
- Provide advice on new ways to manufacture or produce products that are more environmentally friendly.
- Look at company culture and how this can be improved to create a better work environment and better employee experience and retention.
- Provide employee training and education on environment and sustainability topics.
- Show companies how they can share the changes they are making with their Customers through marketing and communication strategies.
What businesses can do to be more sustainable.
There are lots of free resources and tools online that businesses can access to help them become more sustainable. Two great resources for business owners are:
The Free B Impact assessment. This helps businesses gauge and measure their social and environmental performance and set goals for the future. They can then decide whether to go for a full BCorp Certification or just use the tool internally to help them create a business for good. (I can help with this, just email me for details!)
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. They were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals. Which of these can you focus on as a business?
What my plans are moving forward.
My ethos is ‘do what you can when you can’. I believe that I can make changes through what I buy and how I consume things (Check out my guide to zero waste grocery shopping for example!).
As business owners, we can make huge changes for both our customers and for ourselves through how we create and grow our businesses. A sustainable consultant can help you implement changes and also help you create a clear plan of action to help your business.
Betternotstop will continue to grow as a place for individuals and businesses to learn more about sustainability and how we have the power to make the world a better place. As someone that has been in £20,000 of debt to then travelling around the world, I am living proof that just because you’ve always done something one way, it’s never too late to change.
Let me know what comes to mind when you hear about Sustainability or share with me some of your favourite sustainable businesses below in the comments!