The ability to benchmark sustainability has never been more vital for businesses. Safeguarding our planet and the life on it is vital and we all have a role to play. But if we are going to take action to protect the environment we first need to understand where we are starting from. For businesses with multiple waste streams this can seem challenging, so Mark Horner, Head of Vertas Environmental, explains how.
Benchmarking sustainability is new for all business sectors, but nevertheless is something which we are having to get to grips with quickly. Currently there is no standardised way for businesses to measure and improve their sustainability. However, I firmly believe that rather than striving for perfection, businesses must aim to educate themselves and improve.
One of the easiest ways to benchmark your business’ performance when it comes to sustainability is through waste management reports. A reputable waste service provider will collate data on the waste it collects from your business and then break this down into:
- What the waste was
- Where it was processed
- How it was processed
Therefore, businesses using a waste management provider should be in possession of an overview of what impact their organisation could be having. However, this process can be enhanced further with three tips:
- Engage with a waste brokerage – they can take a holistic look at your waste output and create a solution that best fits your business, rather than a waste company trying to pigeonhole businesses into the services that they offer.
- Don’t be afraid to use multiple waste companies. By using providers for different waste streams, you can ensure that you can find a provider that is the best fit for your environmental objectives and the waste that you need to dispose of.
- And finally collaborate with other businesses. If your business is located on a business park for example, rather than each business having a separate provider and separate waste paper bin, could you arrange for one provider to service a collective of businesses? This could not only reduce the number of collection vehicles coming into the area, and the road miles associated with your waste, but it may even be more cost effective. A collective approach reduces congestion, pollution and carbon.
If you have a particularly challenging product to dispose of keep an eye out for amnesty days. At Vertas Environmental we run amnesty days, on which businesses can reach out with problems. Over the years this has included chemicals, unknown historic products or even small amounts of nuclear products. During this amnesty the waste management company may also offer free health checks, offering you tips on how your waste processes can be further improved.
Making use of all of these tips and services will allow businesses to gain a detailed baseline understanding of how sustainable your business is, set goals for moving forward and measure against these.
Sustainability is an area in which we will always be able to improve so long as we have built an understanding of what our current performance is. I would implore all businesses to engage with a waste management provider to ensure that you are doing the best job possible, or have an action plan to get there.
For more information on benchmarking your environmental impact, get in touch.