May 19, 2020

Nine ways your business can better consider the environment

Wilf Robinson
Certified Sustainable
Wilf Robinson
5 min
Nine ways your business can better consider the environment

Wilf Robinson, owner and co-founder of Certified Sustainable, offers his top nine tips on how businesses can better consider the environment.

A new international study conducted by Unilever has revealed that a third of consumers now favour brands which they feel are doing social or environmental ‘good’. Unsurprisingly, this trend is becoming poignant in the world of business too. Investing in companies with a vibrant green thumb has become an evident priority for potential clients, making this an important consideration for all businesses. 

However, despite the many benefits which follow businesses who decide to ‘go green’, CitySprint has revealed that whilst 90% of SMEs said they thought sustainability is an important aspect of conducting business, over half of these businesses are failing to invest in any sustainability goals. It seems there is an equal number of businesses who pride themselves on fulfilling a greener agenda, for example by selecting suppliers and contractors who are known for sustainable conduct (31%), and businesses who dismiss green-oriented goals altogether. Essentially, the world of sustainability is at a loss; businesses are overpromising and under-delivering.

As influential companies continue to demonstrate an ‘all or nothing approach’, changes must be made. Meanwhile, it has been concluded that SMEs don’t feel confident enough to pursue greener agendas; they simply don’t understand how their businesses can become more sustainable. As it’s been found that 51% of businesses lack critical information regarding how efficient methods can be developed and maintained, this failure becomes more understandable.

To help you better understand how your business can successfully consider the environment, encouraging others to follow suit, here are nine ways that companies can better consider the environment. 

  1. Set a mission statement

If you want to determine whether a company is excelling sustainably, then the first thing to check is its mission statement. As a compilation of guiding principles, mission statements encompass the organisation’s values and goals. 

Any company hoping to improve its sustainability efforts ought to incorporate this into its mission statement. Discuss with your team how you’d like to become more sustainable, for example by saving water or reducing waste and incorporate your revised values, creating a short, concise mission statement which reflects your green priorities. 

  1. Be mindful of your energy usage

There are many ways by which you can become more energy efficient, having a positive impact on the environment in turn. For example, you can use alternative energy resources; solar and wind power are just two examples of the many sustainable options which provide a greener alternative. 

Consider also replacing old appliances with more energy efficient ones. Cost-cutting rarely benefits the environment, contributing to unnecessary energy wastage which certainly doesn’t portray your company in a favourable light. By investing in energy-efficient alternatives, you’ll create a sustainable working environment that’s long-lasting. 

  1. Get certified

Becoming more sustainable as a company is an admirable goal and it’s equally important that you showcase your achievements. Being seen as a sustainable business means you need to highlight this in your branding, PR and marketing strategies. Certifications can support your sustainable image exponentially. These accreditations demonstrate that your achievements are recognised externally, as your processes are quality-approved by experts. 

For example, the ‘Certified Sustainable’ accreditation provides a clear and visible means for UK manufacturers to showcase the company’s commitment to best-practice waste management and sustainability. Started by a team of independent waste management experts, the certification encourages manufacturers to operate in a truly sustainable manner. By becoming ‘Certified Sustainable’, these businesses better communicate the sustainability efforts, sharing achievements with clients, partners and employees alike. 

  1. Go paperless

Going paperless is an environmental saviour, whilst it’s also been said to enhance productivity. Findings suggest that employees spend one-third of their time looking for paper documents, an indisputable waste of their skill sets. Adopting a paperless strategy means that important information can’t be lost or misplaced easily, whilst allowing your employees to use their valued time more efficiently. Meanwhile, your business will proactively protect our trees, a commitment to be proud of.

  1. Invest in sustainable projects

Companies who consider important causes are certainly favourable among consumers and clients. This purposeful image demonstrates your ability to support the wider world. As a consequence, you could consider investing in sustainable projects; for example, by supporting charities which proactively work to create a more sustainable planet, you’ll be seen as a ‘greener’ company, with the environment at the top of your priority list.

  1. Assign a sustainability advocate

Creating sustainable plans might be simple, but their maintenance requires commitment and monitoring. I recommend having a sustainability leader who can act as an advocate for your business’ sustainability practices. The individual will work to bring your goals to fruition, communicating these with the rest of your team. 

  1. Become an environmental champion in your local area

Where possible, use your platform as a successful business professional to champion a local cause, contributing to a project which makes a difference close to home. This will encourage fellow members of your team to embrace a more sustainable and supportive lifestyle themselves, using their expertise for good. In turn, your company will consist of passionate employees who aim to live sustainably both professionally and personally.   


  1. Conserve water

There are numerous ways by which your business can conserve water. Start with a water audit; many companies underestimate how much water they’re using, however audits can help to uncover any leaks and unnecessary wastage. Once you know where your water’s being used, you can better educate your team. Encouraging them to become more water-aware will help to reduce the environmental impact your business is having, making gradual steps towards a more efficient and sustainable workplace.  

  1. Be wise with your waste

Every business will produce waste, regardless of how many changes you implement. It would be extremely difficult to avoid waste entirely. However, there are sustainable uses for your waste, putting your by-products to the best possible use. For example, you can reduce packaging, eliminate plastic water bottles, or contribute to local food banks. Above all else, ‘recycle and reuse’ should be values which lie at the core of your business.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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