Social Media for Business Good

28 06 2010

So how does social media help promote a more sustainable society and promote your business at the same time?

Here is a little look at some of the ways that modern internet tools can be used to promote business that is “doing good” for their community.  Of course they can be used to highlight issues that the community feels are not appropriate too.

One of the key things is that people are looking for answers as to how they can operate their businesses and personal lives in ways which benefit both the environment and their community.  They are looking for examples of what has worked and how that has been adapted into their industry sector.

By promoting what your organisation has been able to achieve through social media channels, you can connect with your suppliers, existing customers and potential customers.  Through posting short articles on how you are operating then your business supporters can help spread your initiatives along with their positive experiences of your organisation to their online network.  Having 3rd parties talking about the good your organisation does, is more powerful and meaningful than the messages you say (though these are important also).

Take your company website.  How many web visitors come to that site a day to look at what you provide in terms of products and services?  Compare that with those who are reading your CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and Sustainability messages?  You will probably discover that fewer people are reading your CSR and Sustainability messages.  Many people are looking for the “real” status of your operations via other people’s opinions.

Moving over to platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.  These are very social places and you probably will discover that your company could easily be talked about there.  If you have staff that are good communicators and enjoy using internet tools, then give them the scope to discuss the company initiatives online.

Industry and common interest groups on sites such as Linked-In are often very focused and they attract the business community.  Posting comments about your company’s experiences in implementing sustainability initiatives on these sites gets the interest of your industry peers which can lead quickly to two things.

  1. They approach your company for your services and advice.
  2. They talk about your initiatives with this community and may even shift the discussion out to more social sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The effect with others talking about your initiatives means that you get publicity without paying for it.  If you are confident in your message then you have nothing to worry about, as your supporters will back you.

If you still do not see how important it is to have your sustainability message online think about this way.  When was the last time you went to a book on your shelf or picked up a newspaper to get an answer to a question?

Do you just do an internet search?

Well millions of people do.

So having your message on multiple web platforms allows people to find your organisation quickly and it will position your organisation at the front of their sustainability search.





A Greener Upstream

22 06 2010

Have you thought about how much influence you can have on greening your upstream supply chain?

If not, there is huge potential.
If you have thought about it and put it into action then share your stories with others of what you did and how it went.

To help you think about the potential lets stop for a moment and have a coffee together at your favourite cafe.

Now to get that coffee into your hand there are multiple choices that have been made such as:

  • who did they purchase the beans, milk, sugar and chocolate/cinnamon from?
  • are any of those products fair-trade or organic?
  • what was the packaging made from (paper, plastic or metal)?
  • is the packaging single use or multi use?  Can it be recycled at the end of its use?
  • how far did the products travel to get to the cafe?
  • what was the method of delivery and was that the option with the lowest carbon footprint (e.g. do we need to airfreight the sugar)?
  • when upgrading the coffee machine have they looked at the power consumption of the equipment?
  • was their training provided on how best to use the machine?
  • what type of cup is it being served in?
  • is the cleaning detergent eco-friendly?

Now that is just a starting point so while you enjoy that coffee lets just reflect on the fact that every product or service supplied into that coffee shop can be looked at from the perspective of can I make a greener choice.

It is simply asking the question – “Is there a greener choice”?

If you do not already have a standard clause in your supplier contracts asking for the more environmentally friendly option why not create one now.  It only takes a simple clause to ask the question which keeps both you and your suppliers thinking about what the next step is to having an even greener supply chain.





Using resources

8 06 2010

Daily we get messages reminding us that we are using the resources provided to us on earth in really inefficient ways and sometimes just plain wasting them.  Of course every resource that you use in your business is a cost to your business as either a financial one or an environmental one.  You will understand the financial one pretty well though have you thought of the environmental ones both for your health and that of your colleagues?

The benefits of having a healthy team working with you are clear.  Though we can not see the slow changes that are causing our team to not be working at their full potential due to the increasing levels of pollution building up in their bodies and their surroundings.  It is like having an engine slowly clog up because it is unable to self-clean.  Running an engine that is not at its full potential just costs more resources to get the same level of output.

There are many superb resources on the web that provide insights into the way we are not using resources well.  The Story of Stuff (http://www.storyofstuff.com/) is one that is great for Adults and Children and it lasts only 20 minutes (great for a coffee room viewing at work).

It combines video clips of Annie Leonard and cartoon characters to explain financial costs that are not being passed along the supply chain to the end product being sold.  Costs associated with poor worker health or the destruction of forests and rivers is not paid by the customer buying the product rather through the community in higher health care costs and not being able to use their local water resources or the oxygen from the forests.

I am sure that if you were to stop for just 5 minutes after watching a video like “The Story of Stuff” you would recall areas within your business operation that are using resources poorly.  How much do you think you could save after investing just 5 minutes of your chargeable time on recalling those ideas?  I would guess easily 10 times or more the cost of the investment.  I look forward to hearing what action you took and what the savings were to your organisation.