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Global Climate Strike: How businesses can take part

Insight

20 September 2019

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Friday 20th September marked the largest environmental protest in history, with an estimated 4 million people attending.

The Global Climate Strike, organised by Greta Thunberg, took place in over 150 countries. Organised by Fridays for Future, the movement stems from Thunberg’s school strikes outside the Swedish parliament, swelling to become an vast international network including all ages and nationalities.

“What I’m telling you to do now is act”: Thunberg urged children and adults alike to strike ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on the 23rd September. Recent research suggests that it is still possible to attain the goals of the Paris Climate Accords, but only if it is made a priority now.

How does it affect businesses?

With millions of people striking around the globe, many businesses will have experienced staff walkouts. But longer term, climate change poses a far greater threat to business than one lost day of productivity.

Our research on the Future of Leadership revealed that the business environment has shifted dramatically, rendering the traditional approach of putting profit above everything else obsolete.

This isn’t just about being environmentally sustainable, it’s about re-examining the relationship between organisations, their employees and society as a whole.

Today, successful businesses take a honeybee approach. This means acting in the best interests of all stakeholders, not just investors. Sustainability in this sense means that no resources – environmental, financial or human – should be unduly depleted or wastefully managed.

Businesses which fail to adapt, sticking with the traditional locust approach (short-term profit at any cost), will find the market increasingly inhospitable as the environmental and ethical concerns of consumers continue to grow.

In the long-term, it is sustainable businesses that will thrive.

Top 5 sustainability tips for businesses

At Lane4 we’ve been working hard to make our business more sustainable, recognising there’s always more we can do. Here are 5 things that we’ve initiated that might just work for your business too…

1. Move towards the digitisation of products.

Businesses should adopt a digital-first mindset. This means only printing documents when absolutely necessary and avoiding paper handouts. In Lane4, an increasing number of our products are wholly digital. Operating online rather than with traditional pen and paper, we can reduce the use of single use plastic, paper and resources.

2. Make your workplace sustainable.

Intelligent air conditioning, energy-saving lighting and even sustainable interior design can all have a huge effect on the carbon footprint of a workplace. When the Lane4 office was refurbished, we ensured sustainability from the inside out, working closely with the builders to optimise energy efficiency without sacrificing functionality or aesthetics. This culminated in the office winning a silver SKA rating for sustainability!

3. Increase the use of video conferencing.

Travel represents a substantial portion of human CO2 emissions. By minimising unnecessary face-to-face meetings, businesses can save time, money, and energy. For Lane4, using tools like webinars to share our content is both sustainable and more accessible for our clients.

4. Create an Environmental Care Group.

At Lane4, we set up a group for environmentally-minded staff to share ideas and instigate change within the organisation. To date, outcomes include providing a vegan lunch with plastic-free utensils for the whole company, planning the installation of electric car charging points in the car park, and actively recycling in and around the office.

5. Encourage your employees to join the protest this Friday.

People feel incredibly strongly about the issue of climate change, and businesses should recognise and support that passion. At Lane4, we’re allowing anyone who wants to attend the Global Climate Strike to go by using one of their annual CSR days. The only condition is that they let us know first!

 

What is your business doing for environmentalism? Let us know in the comments!

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