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Sustainability is a global megatrend that has been in play for many years. Businesses and consumers are increasingly looking for products that are produced using processes and materials that minimize environmental harm. Environmentalists define it as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
According to HSBC’s annual Navigator research, nearly one-third of businesses plan to choose suppliers and partners that are more sustainable within three years. The survey also noted that more than 80 percent of buyer firms that pushed their partners and suppliers to improve sustainability were doing so because sustainability would help buyers “achieve cost efficiencies, improve revenues and boost profitability.”
Tennant defines our core value of Stewardship as leaving things in better condition than you found them. Sustainability is increasingly important to customers, shareholders and employees, and if sustainability is part of your business, these groups are likely to build a stronger connection to your company, potentially increasing sales as well as your stock’s price.
"Sustainable practices also reduce the risk of damaging the company’s reputation as a result of adverse environmental news."
Pete Swenson, Director, Sustainable Enterprise at Tennant, believes sustainable practices reduce waste, save money, and improve the bottom line. “Ideally, everything we buy leaves our manufacturing plants as a part of a product, or else the money we spent becomes waste. Sustainable practices also reduce the risk of damaging the company’s reputation as a result of adverse environmental news,” said Swenson.
Reducing packaging waste is a win-win for suppliers and their customers who don’t need to spend money disposing of mountains of packaging materials. An excellent example is Tennant’s partnership with Logix Transportation. Rather than using pallets, cardboard and miles of shrink wrap, Logix simply covers Tennant equipment with reusable shipping blankets. This has saved Tennant and its customers acquisition and disposal costs of more than 3 million pounds of packaging waste and 18,000 pallets over the past 8 years.
"Developing ec-H2O was a significant investment but it increased our sales while helping our customers clean more safely and efficiently, save money on chemical solutions, and reduce the environmental impact of cleaning"
If your organization is considering how implement sustainable practices we listed several tips to improve sustainability in your operations and quickly see a positive return on investment (ROI):
- Improve energy efficiency. Install LED lighting in office, manufacturing and warehouse areas; invest in more fuel-efficient vehicles; and shift to electrification away from internal combustion engines. Local utilities and state and local governments may offer rebates or incentives that improve ROI.
- Reduce waste. Examine your outbound waste stream and focus on ways to reduce or eliminate waste items.
- Improve recycling efforts. Identify items that could be recycled depending on local recycling infrastructure. Improve employee awareness about recycling opportunities that reduce waste removal costs and/or possibly generate income.
- Conduct a facility energy audit. Work with local utilities to identify potential savings from additional insulation and setback thermostats.
- Reduce water use. Explore ways to improve water efficiency in processes and eliminate leakage/wasted water.
Once these easier, less expensive sustainability practices have been adopted, consider investing in developing eco-advantaged products and services that help your customers achieve lower total cost in their operations. At Tennant, a good example of this is our ec-H2O™ Technology.
ec-H2O technology electrically converts water into an innovative, detergent-free cleaning solution that cleans effectively, saves money, improves safety, and reduces environmental impact compared to traditional cleaning chemicals and methods.
“Developing ec-H2O was a significant investment but it increased our sales while helping our customers clean more safely and efficiently, save money on chemical solutions, and reduce the environmental impact of cleaning,” added Swenson.
Taking steps to invest in sustainability can provide a competitive advantage that’s good for your business and the environment, and we call that a win/win.
Want to see how Tennant walks the sustainability talk? View our 2018 Sustainability Report.