Zero Waste: Understanding Sustainability

Sustainability has been referred to as a balancing act by some and a complex concept by other groups looking to define how companies can achieve what the United Nations first proposed in 1987 as development that does not negatively impact future generations. While the idea of sustainability has morphed into a zero waste goal, the economic impact of environmental protection cannot be denied. Whatever the goal your company has set forth, or perhaps have only begun to consider, the idea of building a sustainable business is not as simple as stating it in your business plan.

Why Sustainable?

We have been pursuing prosperity as a people since the human race realized the products they produced had value beyond their own nuclear family. And since that moment, we have torn through the resources of our planet with what might be referred to as reckless abandon. We have done so without regard to the impact of those pursuits. The UN recognized this as vicious cycle suggesting that the pursuit of prosperity as having negative impact on those less fortunate.  They wrote in the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future: “Environmental stress has often been seen as the result of the growing demand on scarce resources and the pollution generated by the rising living standards of the relatively affluent. But poverty itself pollutes the environment, creating environmental stress in a different way. Those who are poor and hungry will often destroy their immediate environment in order to survive: They will cut down forests; their livestock will overgraze grasslands; they will overuse marginal land; and in growing numbers they will crowd into congested cities. The cumulative effect of these changes is so far-reaching as to make poverty itself a major global scourge.”

How is Sustainable Important to Your Business?

As a business owner/manager, you are focused on numerous targets, all of which point to your ability to generate profits. In all likelihood, sustainable practices may not have been considered part of your financial equation when achieving those goals. You can be forgiven for this. However, this sort of oversight will eventually impact the profits your business hopes to gain.

Your business is not only part of the local community, it is also part of a global citizenship. This social component is a growing concern for many businesses.

  • Agribusinesses are forced to look at the way feeding the world impacts the long-term impact on the environment they depend upon to produce those goods.
  • Manufacturing businesses need to consider many of the same issues as they seek to build efficiencies into the production of goods. While we have been very clever overcoming spot shortages of finite resources, we also are quite adept of exploiting those new resources.
  • Retail operations have numerous additional concerns and in many instances, are the end purveyor of the products produced by the aforementioned companies. Their responsibilities suggest an untapped influence of both upstream production of market goods and downstream reduction of waste of all kinds.

At every level, business has an opportunity to right several millennia of wrongs that began with the advent of the agricultural revolution and continued unabated through the industrial revolution. The questions are many however the most important one you are asking: Can this be done profitably?

Can Sustainability be Profitable?

Zero Waste Consultants LLC offers a singular focus for businesses of all sizes. We focus on numerous ways your company can do the right thing of all of the stakeholders. Your customers want to know how you participate in this global neighborhood, a place where each business has an obligation to leave as small of an environmental footprint as possible. Your employees want to know that they are part of the solution. And your financial team wants to know how sustainability impacts your company’s bottom line.

ZWC focuses on every angle of your company’s operation. We develop a holistic approach to your goals. We look for partnerships in your community and with your suppliers. We engage your employees, who often have real solutions. We also look to develop profitable alternatives for your specific issues.

We believe sustainability can be profitable? Please contact us to explore your options.

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