February 23, 2024

Sustainability is important in all aspects of life, including business. We all know that sustainable business practices increase efficiency, drive long-term success and create a better future for all. How do you integrate sustainability into your organization’s strategy, operations and culture? How do you align environmental and social responsibility with your business goals while having a positive impact on the planet and society?

We recently sought advice from our key executives on how to integrate sustainability into the organization’s business practices.

Here are their responses…

Michael Willis, Head of Sports Business Operations


Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a business imperative. The world faces environmental and social crises, and consumers are demanding that businesses take responsibility and act. For companies to remain competitive and influential, they must commit to sustainable development.

For example, the NFL office manager came to my floor to discuss plastics with the department. We all got an extra trash can. One for trash and the other for recycled plastic. City officials are working with New York City businesses to explain new initiatives the city is taking around environmental recycling.

The NFL is fined $100 for every plastic water bottle found in general trash.

As a powerful platform for change, sport has the opportunity to be at the forefront of the global movement towards a more sustainable future.

League-Wide Fundraising – Sports leagues, teams and athletes are developing creative ways to achieve sustainability goals, such as Plant a Tree.

One Tree Planted is an environmental organization that works with sports organizations to support the sustainable development of sport. For example:

  • Major League Soccer – 2022 Major League Soccer to plant 28,000 trees in the US and Canada, including 1,000 trees for each of the 28 MLS teams.
  • Major League Baseball – 2022 MLB Plants 5,000 Trees in California for Home Hit in 2022 MLB Home Run Derby Baseball’s restored project.

Consumers and corporate stakeholders value sustainability and expect businesses to care about it, too. As consumers become more aware of the impact of their everyday choices, they are looking for brands and products that are good for people and the planet.

More than 90 percent of global consumers surveyed said they expect companies to address social and environmental issues.

Many NFL stadiums insist that all food served to fans during games is served in compostable containers.

The sports industry still has a long way to go in terms of sustainability, but the processes are in place to make this the backbone of current and future operations.

michael willis 18+ years of experience working with accounting and sports organizations, managing P&Ls ranging from $10 million to over $125 million, and budgets ranging from $3 million to over $50 million. He has been with the NFL for 22 1/2 years, primarily in finance/accounting operations with game officials.

Lisa Perry, Head of Global Marketing

Employees work for a company with sustainable business practices

Image via Bigstock

In today’s rapidly changing world, sustainable development has become the focus of attention of enterprises in various industries. Gone are the days when profits were the only measure of success. Consumers, employees and stakeholders are demanding more from companies, urging them to adopt sustainable business practices. Here are some ways to incorporate sustainability into your business strategy and examples from leading companies.

Environmental management:

Consumers are attracted to companies that actively reduce their carbon footprint, conserve energy and reduce waste. Companies like Patagonia have long been at the forefront of environmental stewardship. Patagonia uses recycled and organic materials in its products and is an active advocate for environmental causes. It launched its “Worn Wear” program to encourage customers to repair and reuse their clothes, reduce waste and promote a sustainable culture. Patagonia’s founders recently donated $3 billion worth of funds to the company to fight climate change.

Meet consumer expectations:

Today’s consumers are more informed and socially aware than ever before. They seek out brands that align with their values ​​and support causes they care about. Sustainable practices have become a key consideration when consumers make purchasing decisions. Unilever has made sustainable practices a cornerstone of its business strategy. The company’s sustainable living program focuses on reducing environmental impact, enhancing social equity, and improving health and well-being. Unilever’s commitment to sustainability has resonated with consumers, boosting its brands such as Dove and Ben & Jerry’s, which are known for their ethical and socially responsible initiatives. By integrating sustainable development into their business operations, companies can attract and retain customers who prioritize ethical consumption.

Enhance brand reputation:

Sustainability is no longer an optional add-on for businesses; it has become an essential part of brand reputation management. Tesla’s commitment to sustainability has revolutionized the automotive industry. Tesla has built a strong brand reputation as a clean transportation pioneer by developing innovative electric vehicles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s dedication to sustainability has attracted a loyal customer base and positioned it as a leader in the transition to a low-carbon future. In a highly competitive market, a strong brand reputation can be a significant differentiator and catalyst for growth.

Save costs and increase efficiency:

Contrary to popular belief, sustainable practices can save costs and increase operational efficiency. Companies can cut expenses, increase profits, adopt energy-efficient technologies, optimize supply chains, and reduce waste. Global furniture retailer IKEA has integrated sustainability into its operations to achieve cost savings and efficiency gains. The company has invested in renewable energy sources like solar and wind to reduce its carbon footprint. In addition, IKEA focuses on designing products that are durable, recyclable and made from sustainable materials. These practices align with the company’s values ​​and lead to operational efficiencies and cost savings. Embracing sustainability benefits the planet and drives business success in the long run.

Regulatory Compliance and Risk Mitigation:

Taking a proactive approach to sustainability minimizes business risk and creates a resilient foundation for future growth. Walmart has made significant strides in integrating sustainability into its business practices to ensure compliance and reduce risk. The company implements various sustainability initiatives such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency and promoting responsible sourcing. Walmart aims to operate on 100 percent renewable energy and is actively working with suppliers to improve sustainability throughout its supply chain. By prioritizing sustainability, Walmart meets regulatory requirements and reduces potential risks associated with environmental and social issues, thereby enhancing its long-term resilience and reputation. Walmart’s commitment to sustainability impacts the entire retail industry, encouraging other companies to follow suit and adopt sustainable practices to meet regulatory standards and reduce associated risks.

Sustainable business practices are no longer just an option; they have become imperative for companies that want to thrive in today’s world.

Lisa Perry Help companies build leadership brands, attract loyal customers and achieve profitability. She does this through the process of building brands consumers love. Her goal is to help companies develop brands, monetize and grow their brands.

How is your organization integrating sustainability into its business practices?join the conversation inside Work It Daily’s Execution Plan.

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