Building Sustainability Into Your Company’s Budget
Sustainability has worked its way into the spotlight for individuals and businesses around the world. It is an important factor to include in any business model, but creating a budget for it can sometimes be tricky. The following steps will show the right way to include effective sustainability in your company’s culture and budget.
Understand What Sustainability Means
The first step is to understand what sustainability will mean for your company at every level.
Each department within the business will look different with sustainable changes, from marketing to transportation and sales. It’s critical to take into account how they will change and, moreover, how much they can afford to change.
Different departments may have different budgets. Building sustainability into your company’s overall balance sheets is ideal but not always possible for some. Address the needs and flexibility of every department in the company.
These decisions will influence how much you can allocate for sustainable changes — which should benefit the environment and public health. An initiative like funding renewable energy projects is a good example that covers both those areas. Budgeting for positive impact is the name of the game.
After understanding budgets and any restrictions, it’s then necessary to open up the conversation to everyone. Hearing the opinions of others is one of the many factors that go into budgeting for a company. It helps fine-tune developing plans and makes them more tangible and actionable.
You’ll need to open the conversation to stakeholders, executives, employees and consumers. Everyone should be able to provide ideas, tips and goals for what they think the company can do. Some people may have more experience with budgeting than others, so making sure you hear everyone’s perspective is imperative.
From there, you can find common denominators. What are most people interested in seeing? What do people think is the most realistic sustainable path for the company? Feedback will shape the budget and the project. It could focus on waste management and recycling or building better water infrastructure in urban areas.
Set Goals, Deadlines and Steps
Next, it’s time to plan. These plans will change over time, but for now, it’s important to set a course for the project. You’ll need to fill in the details like who you want to collaborate and partner with. Will you be reaching out to organizations that focus on sustainability? Will you be opening the project up for volunteers?
You’ll need end goals and a schedule for when to meet each of the smaller goals along the way. The key is staying within budget while still accomplishing everything — which, with the right planning, should be a breeze.
Don’t forget the details as you finalize your plan and begin to enact it. Who is going to manage and oversee the steps? How will you get the resources you need? What will you do with any waste? These factors add up — make sure to account for it all.
Monitor and Adjust
Since life is always unpredictable, the project will inevitably change. You’ll need to adjust your budget over time and potentially change things like the project’s scale and timeline. These things will happen even with the best planning. Monitor the project, adjust what you need to and then keep going.
Throughout the weeks, months and years that it takes to complete your current sustainable project, you’ll learn things about budgeting for sustainability that you weren’t aware of before. Then, you’ll be ready to apply that knowledge to future projects, fine-tuning it.
Budgets can be finicky, but with the right planning, support and constant communication, you’ll be able to make positive changes for the environment and for the public.
The Bottom Line
Sustainable projects and initiatives prioritize the environment and public health. However, they often also have money savings in store for the business, like switching to energy-saving devices. With sustainability, a business can focus on helping each and every party involved.
Author Bio: Jane works as the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers environmental news and sustainable living tips.