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Part 2: What To Do With Sustainability Data

Data is a big buzzword for a lot of businesses. For good reason! Having data is so important to your business for countless reasons. As they say, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This applies to sustainability data. See Part 1 for how to collect data. You now have collected sustainability data that includes units, dollars, and ideas. What can you do with this collected data? I hope you try a combination of the below suggestions. 

1.    Set and monitor goals

Use concrete data for goal setting. I recommend setting two sustainability goals annually, using your data to set a benchmark. Your data directs you to where you are using or spending the most. Goals in those areas will provide significant savings. Set reduction targets, an example is “Reduce electricity 10% in 2020 compared to 2019 average.” You can then use your continued data collection to monitor this progress and adjust as needed. 

2.    Engage investors and customers

Share goals and data on social media and in marketing efforts. Engage customers with sustainability efforts by sending newsletters and Facebook updates that include sustainability data and goals. I recommend including goals, progress, and metrics in newsletters and on social media to engage customers. Track the goals publicly to encourage employees and share progress. 

Use the record of money saving and conscious resource use when pitching investors for additional investment or opening a second location. Use your history of savings as a reason for future trust and financial suitability. 

3.    Financial decisions

Use sustainability data to decide to purchase new light bulbs or to get a new refrigerator. Data to perform a cost-benefit analysis will benefit future revenue and profit figures. You can also tie sustainability goals with revenue and profit goals to show additional information. Share how sustainability savings have impacted profit margins. 

4.    Employee engagement 

Employees want to feel valued and like they are part of something. Asking employees to complete checklists or do additional steps to separate waste should come with data to show how their actions affect the business’ bottom line and revenue. A monthly or quarterly information share should do the trick to keep employees excited and interested in their goals. Another winning tip- invest sustainability savings into employee engagement actions including health care or bonuses. 

5.    Explain the “why”

Customers, employees and investors often question the importance of relevance of sustainability data. Show them data to allay these fears and prove its worth. Displaying energy saved, money saved and waste diverted are powerful signals to change someone’s mindset. 

6.    Brainstorming

If you’ve been collecting sustainability ideas and goals, host a bi-annual brainstorming session with employees, community members or customers. Use your ideas as a jumping off point to ask for additional ideas and feedback. Fund these ideas with sustainability savings from other initiatives. 

Curious to learn more? Set up a free 30-minute consult, here.

Eliza ErskineComment