The way we do business has to change. It’s making us sick, making our companies fail and ruining the planet we live on.
Something’s got to give. The old ways of doing things have been categorically proven to cause harm, so why do we still persist with outdated methods?
Today, we’re going to look at five business trends that are hurting ourselves, our companies and our planet.
1. The grind
It’s not new, but it’s a trend sweeping the timelines and newsfeeds of employees young and old.
The simple idea is this: work so many hours and neglect your physical and mental health so severely that you (possibly) make a profit.
We’ve all seen business gurus telling us that getting eight hours sleep is wasting time. Or that time in front of the TV is a cardinal sin.
In reality, proper sleep is essential for health and wellbeing. And time away from work is the same — with the added bonus of helping our relationships, focus and productivity.
Working every hour of the day is likely to cause more harm than good. Don’t fall into believing this toxic way of thinking — it’s not good for you or your company.
Prioritising our own and our team’s mental health is important. You can read more of our tips in our blog here.
2. Token sustainability
Companies that are more responsible perform better — and that trend is growing. But what about those that fake it?
Token efforts — from financial donations to soulless PR stunts — are all too common. Thankfully, they usually don’t work. But it’s still true that many brands see CSR as a way of covering for all the other bad stuff they continue to do.
Sustainability has to be a core concern for brands, otherwise employees will be less likely to engage with it — and customers will see through it.
3. The green plaster over bigger problems
Sustainability, at its best, is structural. It starts with a few guiding principles and helps brands move and adapt according to the times. It’s not just about actions themselves, but a complete shakeup of business-as-usual.
As we mentioned in point two on our list, companies often engage in token sustainability. Worse than that is what I’m calling ‘the green plaster’.
The green plaster is a responsible act or message from a company that otherwise abuses the environment at every turn. They might also underpay staff or condemn workers to horrific conditions.
And then, suddenly, they come out with a scheme that seeks to distract you from all of that. The magical green plaster. Think sticking a Post-it note over an oil spill.
It’s often not a new or ingenious idea. Don’t be fooled when a corporate giant claims to be the first to use solar energy.
4. Profit over everything
As a company that subscribes to the Triple Bottom Line, we measure more than just profit. For us — and many other responsible brands — the planet and its people are just as important as our pay-checks.
Of course, making a profit means a company can continue to exist. But hoarding cash — instead of paying workers a fair wage or doing your bit for the local area — should be a thing of the past.
A good way for companies to redress this balance is to commit to 1% For The Planet. It’s a scheme that puts 1% of your sales income back into projects dedicated to helping the environment.
Realising that none of us would have anything without the Earth is humbling, and a regular donation will remind you of that.
BUT — and this is important — this isn’t a get out of jail free card. It should be the first step, not your only sustainable gesture. If you’re scrambling to cover for all your company’s mistakes, there’s something bigger to address.
How can your company get it right?
If you do need help with getting started on the sustainable trail, we can help. We’ve written a few how-to articles that can get you on your way:
- Business travel tips: 7 ways to save money and emissions
- How to effortlessly reduce your company’s plastic usage
- How to get your staff on board with sustainability
- Sustainable marketing ideas for small businesses
We firmly believe that responsible brands can change the world. If we can help you be one of this generation’s trailblazers, we’d be ecstatic.