5 Benefits a Sustainability Program Can Bring your Business

By Tyler Elpers


“Respect your mother.” 


No. Not your actual Mother. I’m talking about Mother Nature. So, how exactly do we do that?


At C&I Electronics we care a lot about mother nature (and our actual mothers, of course). We show our respect to her by recycling and reusing electronics. Reusing electronics is the best way to give your device a second life and promote sustainability. If your items are at the end of their life cycle and cannot be reused, recycling helps save them from ending up in a landfill.


So what is sustainability and how can you achieve it? One of the ways to maintain sustainability is by utilizing every bit of life from your electronics and devices. For example, a computer tower can be sustained by fixing and updating its system, breaking it down for its parts, or recycling it as a whole. Just because a computer tower, or most electronics for that matter, no longer function, does not mean it’s completely useless and needs to be thrown away.


For a household, it’s a simple concept to be sustainable when it comes to electronics. Take all the old wires that you have no idea what they go to, the old stereo, the outdated computer, that gaming console your kids begged you to get but never used and put it into a laundry basket and take it to your local solid waste district or electronics recycling company (like C&I). Easy.


For a business, that’s a different story due to sheer volume alone. Let’s dig into what benefits a sustainability program can bring to your business!


1. Sustainability can bring you popularity among consumers


Haven’t you heard? Being sustainable is, like, so cool!


In today’s social media-driven and environmentally conscious society, the product you create is not the only thing a business offers. You must also look at the bigger picture and do your part to help the community and the world. In order to make those products, whether it’s food, clothing, consumer electronics, etc., your business is affecting the environment in one way or another. Creating and developing a sustainability program can accomplish your goals of respecting the environment and bringing in business. 


According to a study done by IBM and the National Retail Federation, 70% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada think it’s important that a brand is sustainable or eco-friendly. If these consumers see sustainability in businesses as important, then you have to assume those thoughts are influencing where they spend their money. For example, Patagonia and Levi’s are two powerhouse brands that have a forward-thinking approach to sustainability and you can argue that these brands set a trend with their practices. When a company can show empathy towards its environment or a certain cause, they form a connection with the consumer. That connection can lead to brand loyalty and there’s a chance that consumers will pay a premium price for that product because of the actions of that business. The point is, if you do right by mother nature, you can possibly be more profitable. 


2. Sustainability drives innovation and efficiency


Okay, so as a business you’ve decided to become sustainable. Now what? 


Great question! The world is your oyster at this point. Thinking of ways to become more sustainable can lead to new and exciting products that accomplish your sustainability goals while also driving success. Let me show you what I mean.


According to Harvard Business Review, Nike embedded sustainability into its innovation process and created the $1 billion-plus Flyknit line, which uses a specialized yarn system, requiring minimal labor and generating large profit margins. Flyknit reduces waste by 80% compared with regular cut and sew footwear. Since its launch in 2012, Flyknit has reduced 3.5 million pounds of waste and fully transitioned from yarn to recycled polyester, diverting 182 million bottles from landfills.


This is a perfect example of how embracing sustainability has changed the way a product is made, and as a result, creates even more profit and helps the environment all at the same time. THIS is sustainability. By searching for ways to be sustainable internally, a business can find an organic solution that not only boosts their profits, but boosts the protection of the environment. Not all problems are solved by inventing something brand new. Be resourceful.


When a business is resourceful and is solving problems internally, it can mitigate the risk of manufacturing issues, minimize supply chain hold-ups, and streamline production efficiency.


3. Sustainability encourages and develops employee engagement


You’re now as resourceful as you can possibly be as a business. You’re even using leftovers in the breakroom fridge to make your own lunch! 


Maybe not that resourceful.


As previously mentioned, when you internally fix your issues, you’re looking to current employees for answers. Putting a spotlight on an employee to come up with an innovative idea can boost morale, especially if their idea works! Being recognized for your work and ingenuity will always keep employees engaged.


We’ve all experienced the monotony of the workplace from time to time. You get stuck in your routine at work and it becomes bland. Getting the opportunity to do something different at work keeps things interesting. 


On a different note, planning new initiatives as a business, like “Going Green” or developing a sustainability program, can get your employees excited. There may be several employees who wanted something like this but didn’t know who to go to or how to speak up. When a company invests in the same morals and ideas as its employees, it creates a  “buy-in” effect.  According to Harvard Business Review, studies show that firms with greater corporate responsibility performance can reduce average turnover over time by 25-50%. It can also reduce annual quit rates by 3-3.5%. 


The modern-day employee cares about a work-life balance. They need to be able to leave work at work. Part of a business’s responsibility to its employees is to create a culture that’s worth working in and for. Poor work culture leads to poor performance and higher turnover rates and employees will most likely take that stress home with them. A sustainability program can help create that perfect culture for your employees by developing a sense of pride in where they work.   


 4. Sustainability reduces your company’s carbon footprint


Arguably the most ominous and frightening issue facing our planet currently is climate change. One of the ways your business can help curtail climate change is by diminishing your carbon footprint. The best way to do that is by acting on sustainability. 


There are the obvious ways that everyone can help: turn off the lights when you leave a room, recycle your paper and electronics, etc. While those methods are viable, there are bigger ways to make an impact on your environment as a business.


Renewable energy is an accessible and prominent way to make a large impact on reducing your business’s carbon footprint. By that, I mean investing in solar or wind energy. On top of renewable energy, you can invest in energy-efficient appliances from lighting to dishwashers for your business. Keep in mind there are government incentives at the local, state or federal level for transforming your company into a renewable energy company.


Develop smarter shipping methods by straying away from shipping by air to create a more fuel-efficient shipment. You can also maximize your capacity for each load to avoid a plethora of shipments of a small amount of product or supplies. The point here is to invest in your supply chain to help reduce your carbon footprint. If that’s not an option, consider sourcing locally for your resources.


Even if you’re a small business, you can be sustainable. If you can’t afford to invest in renewable energy or a more efficient supply chain, team up with a business. You can load-share on orders, as well as, share ideas on how to hold each other accountable when it comes to being sustainable and reducing your carbon footprint.


5. Sustainability is the right thing to do


We could continue to throw reasons at you giving you profit margins and likability statistics to make you feel good about what you’re doing for the environment and your business but the main focus behind sustainability is that it’s the right thing to do.  A company that doesn’t hold itself accountable is only part of the problem when it comes to the health of our environment. Being accountable isn’t easy but it’s necessary.


At C&I Electronics, we make sustainability easy for you. We know the reports you need to prove sustainability in your company. We have a reliable staff who are ready and attentive to your needs. We have our own trucks to pick up your e-waste in a timely manner. 


Recycling your e-waste isn’t the only service we offer! C&I is also a data security company that provides data destruction on-site or off-site and peace of mind that your proprietary, sensitive information is safe. If your IT department needs help with organization and thorough records of assets, we also provide Asset Management. C&I works with several downstream vendors who are also R2 certified which ensures that your electronics are not being landfilled but rather being responsibly recycled. 


If you’re looking to start a sustainability program for your idle electronics or assets, give us a call and we’d love to help you get started!