News Is Sustainability an Easy Choice

Is Sustainability an Easy Choice

 

Sustainability, the tough call for consumers and corporations

 

As the everyday consumer has become more aware of the impact of their choices, organisations have similarly started to recognise the need to effect tangible transformation in business practices and models to forward social and environmental goals. Among such transformations is the use of solar panels as an alternative producer of energy, abandoning the use of fossil fuels that have been harming the environment far too long. Solar panel installation in Singapore is a huge step humanity can take towards a more sustainable future.

 

For both groups, the intention to choose sustainability has never been higher. Collectively, we recognize that it is a social responsibility – of every individual, household, corporation, country. But what does it mean to choose sustainability? Broadly speaking, it means to make conscious decisions regarding our actions or consumption: what we buy, eat, use, even how it is derived, and how much of it we choose to consume. All to protect and conserve nature and its resources, for generations to come. For Union Power, our commitment to social responsibility is our effort in helping people shift to solar energy in Singapore

 

Sustainability for Consumers: Starting Small vs Real Concerns

For some, choosing sustainability is incredibly straightforward. Using less water by eliminating long soaks in the tub, for example. Other times, it’s bringing along a reusable lunch box to pack food away or simply choosing the dish detergent that has less environmentally harmful chemicals.

 

For others, it might be a little more complicated. Sustainably-produced chocolate with ethically sourced, fair trade cocoa beans comes with a higher price tag. It isn’t always a misconception that sustainably produced consumer goods cost more. What does the price-sensitive consumer choose: The cheaper chocolate that isn’t as sustainably sourced and produced, or the more expensive one, which is? Some food-for-thought – even if the consumer wanted to opt for the latter, it might not be as readily available in most supermarkets or grocery stores as we think it to be. With this ideology, we at Union Power were convinced that aside from the initiative to act, people also need resources to help them make a responsible decision. Thus, our solar panel installation efforts in Singapore.

 

Corporate Sustainability: Not Just A Buzzword

 

External and Internal Forces

 

Let’s talk about corporations, and if it is easy to adopt sustainable practices. To do this, what goes into the decision-making process for corporate sustainability initiatives have to be examined. Sustainability in organisations is driven by external and internal forces, consumers, regulatory authorities and people within the organisation itself. For internal forces, some may think it boils down to dollars and cents. Truth be told, this is undoubtedly a key consideration, but it is often more than that.

 

Where and How to Start

 

Choosing sustainability for corporations can be easy. It starts from within the organisation and does not need to be on a large scale. Putting up signs to remind employees to turn off the lights when not in use. Choosing to use green energy – perhaps in the form of installing solar panels or going digital in place of using physical copies. The tough work comes in when firms start to scrutinise how their products are produced, materials procured, or even how their supply chain works – in order to effect even more impactful, sustainable change.

 

No Matter How Small or Large the Corporation: Good Impact is Good Impact

The Sustainability Impact Sizeable Companies Make

 

Take giants like Nike, Unilever, BASF or Toyota for example, whose adoption of sustainability initiatives have resulted in far-reaching, positive consequences like significant reductions in their carbon footprint, and most importantly, making sustainable choices available for their consumers, through sustainability innovation. This, coupled with realistic sustainability goal planning and increasing transparency with the public fosters trust with the global community. An empire corporation can, undeniably, inspire the shift to solar energy in Singapore, and they have to take the initiative.

 

Why Smaller Firms are No Less Important

 

Implementing such initiatives undoubtedly requires constant sustainability audits and functions designed to identify where these initiatives could be implemented. Without such resources dedicated solely to forwarding sustainability, some question if small and mid-sized corporations can keep up.

 

The short answer – Yes, they can. No sustainability effort is too small as sustainability is essential, a value chain. A ripple effect takes place when a link in that chain makes a choice to adopt a sustainable practice. Empowering small businesses to adopt a more sustainable energy source is what we at Union Power take pride in.

 

Small to mid-sized corporations have the added advantage of being nimble and quick to implement initiatives. This allows them to quickly get the ball rolling, evaluate if these changes have resulted in positive change, and refine them at speed. Simple practices like making recyclable packaging options available to the consumer are good places to start, and collectively make a big impact on reducing waste.

 

How Individuals & Households can Practice Sustainability Without Breaking the Bank

 

Living a sustainable lifestyle does not necessarily mean spending top dollar on organic soaps. Ultimately, transitioning to a sustainable lifestyle has to be sustainable in the long run. Spending within your means while contributing to the greater good is very attainable for the average person.

 

While saving water and energy are probably top-of-mind when we think of ways to practice conscious sustainability, there are other less thought-of but equally effective and inexpensive ways.

 

Opting for Produce that is Blemished, but in Reasonable Condition

 

When we head to the supermarket, we tend to choose to produce – like vegetables and fruits – that are as unblemished as possible. If you are intending to cook or consume what’s in the basket in the next 1 to 3 days, opt for fruit and vegetables that look ripe or are in reasonable condition.

As long as they have not gone bad, these surface blemishes are natural and do not impact their nutritional value. This contributes directly to sustainability as it ensures that such produce does not go to waste. The time and effort taken to grow, process and transport the produce from its country of origin to Singapore are generally unlikely to be carbon neutral.

 

Additionally, should the majority of customers repeatedly pass over blemished produce, they eventually go bad and have to be thrown out. Most supermarkets have programs in place to funnel these items to organisations that feed or provide for those in need, but the amount of waste usually outweighs the amount that can be disbursed in time to be consumed.

 

Asking Questions We’d Never Think to Ask

 

Ensuring all the lights, appliances and devices that do not require power are switched off prior to leaving a room or the house is often heard. If electricity is saved it means doing one’s part for the environment with the added perk of money saved.

 

Where your energy comes from, and what type of energy it also makes a huge difference. Not all energy is created equal, there are greener sources of energy like solar power, contrasted against brown energy, which is derived by burning fossil fuels. Choose the greener option where possible – it might surprise you and be more affordable than expected. Union Power has affordable green energy solutions for discerning households and organisations who want to do their part and go greener.

 

 Other unlikely questions to consider could be:

 

  • Can I purchase more of my necessities in bulk if I’m getting it delivered to my house?
  • Do I really need the additional protection in the form of bubble wrap or harder cardboard boxes for my online purchases?

 

With e-commerce having become ubiquitous with our lifestyle, and even more so in the past year due to the Covid 19 pandemic, our purchasing habits have largely moved online. With delivery comes packaging – and the simple act of reducing the number of deliveries needed or typing a short note to the seller or fulfilment agent of the order to go lighter on packaging can make a difference.

 

Sustainability for Corporations: A Simple Sustainability Audit & Crafting an Action Plan

 

The first step to moving towards more sustainable practices for organisations can be daunting. With plenty to consider and ideas on where to implement these changes abound, we find a simple checklist helps organise such discussions and forms the basis of an effective sustainability audit.

 

  1. Identify which are the broad areas that sustainable practices can be implemented and if they are internal or external. Categorise these broad areas into internal (within the organisation, involving employees, the premises, et cetera) or external areas (suppliers, last-mile delivery, the product, etc). For instance, we at Union Power identified and focused our efforts on providing alternative energy sources in the form of solar energy in Singapore.

 

  1. Measure how big of an impact would change any one of the above effects. Categorise these into Small, Medium, Large

 

  1. Estimate how long it will take to effect this sustainable change. Categorise these into: Less than 3 months / 6 months / 12 months /

 

    4. Determine the savings and/or costs associated with implementing these changes. Try to give a reasonable ballpark estimation for each. If you have a service provider or are considering another service provider – like in the case of solar derived electricity – ask the service provider for the amount your organisation can expect to save.

 

 

 

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