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10 Sustainability tips for a green recovery post Covid-19

By Songo Didiza

World Environmental Day is celebrated worldwide on 5 June. Whilst it is a United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment, the impact on business is entirely linked.

At first glance, it may seem that the coronavirus pandemic has derailed the global environmental agenda – certainly in the short term. While economies are closed, the massive investment required to decarbonise the way we produce and consume has been delayed however provides us all with an opportunity to introduce a green recovery.

A better environment means a better tomorrow and who better to get insight from than Retail Capital’s Journey of Business winner and Green Building Design Group’s founder, Songo Didiza

Songo Didiza joins Green Economy Journal

Songo built her business by aligning the public and private sector with government green economic strategies. Since she founded Green Building Design Group (GreenBDG), they have assisted large multinationals on their broad-based environmental empowerment strategies. Songo joins the Green Economy Journal as Editor and as intellectual leadership in respect of the website:

Her enthusiasm and dedication to the planet, our country and the sustainability sector is inspiring. These are her top ten tips on creating a sustainable business that introduces a green economic stimulus into the post-Covid-19 pandemic era.

As these infrastructure programmes are planned to be rolled out by the South African government and industry alike, we should expect that in many regions decarbonisation will be front and centre in terms of the focus of that green fiscal stimulus.

10 Tips for the green recovery

Here are her 10 tips to help businesses position themselves for the green recovery post-Covid-19 pandemic.

1. Define what sustainability means to you and your business. Sustainability works if the top management has fully bought into it.

2. Operations will now be under pressure to follow sustainability principles as global supply chains look to recover from the Covid-19 associated risks. These supply chains will also need to be more transparent.

3. Know the environment laws that impact your industry and operations. New legislation such as the Carbon Tax (which became effective 1 June 2019) will impact a majority of large businesses in South Africa. Green companies often participate in these supply chains and if your business is not aligned with these laws then it will impact your business negatively.

4. Know your own carbon footprint – share this with your clients. Your footprint indirectly impacts theirs (see tip 3).

5. Always study the global sustainability trends and make sure your company has a dedicated sustainability champion to keep you abreast on these, even if you are a small team.

6. Resource efficiency should always prevail before resource consumption – this will also help introduce a circular economy thinking into the business processes.

7. Source from local suppliers where possible (See also 1). It not only reduces your carbon footprint but also your operating costs.

8. Look to go beyond “green conscious” at operational level, by exploring ways on how to introduce digital technology services to lower your business risk imposed by the coronavirus. This will increase your competitive advantage as it will also lower your operating costs in the medium to long run. Examples include ecommerce and cloud accounting services that can be incorporated into your operations.

9. Make sure your business has an effective work place plan and strategy to limit the exposure risk to Covid-19.

10. Make the sustainability journey a fun experience!

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