If only I could…

“If I can’t get this business sustainable, I don’t want it!”

“It is a must for me to find a solution for this essential but problematic material in my company!”

These are statements from current and former clients, and they tell the story of a painpoint I know many business owners/CEOs find themselves in. The gap between where they stand personally on sustainability and where the company stands is growing and they don’t know how to close it.

Bridging the Sustainability Gap in Your Manufacturing SME

The drive towards sustainability is no longer a peripheral activity; it’s a core concern for businesses worldwide, especially in the manufacturing sector. As the voices of my clients reveal, the need to align personal values with corporate action is becoming a pivotal point for many at the helm of SMEs. But how does one bridge the gap between aspiration and reality? The transformation begins with a shift in perspective and ends with a committed step towards impactful action.

Step 1: Upgrade Your Mindset

It’s imperative to recognize that sustainability is not a roadblock but an avenue for solving business problems. Sustainable practices can lead to efficiency, cost savings, and increased client loyalty – it can even open up new markets. The modern leader must view sustainability as an integral part of business strategy, not as a separate or competing interest. The first step is about shifting from ‘Can I afford to be sustainable?’ to ‘Can I afford not to be?’ If you would like to know more, you can read this full article on the mindset that I wrote last year: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/getting-foundation-right-jasper-steinhausen/?trackingId=pzzETHb%2BRo%2B0rB8fz8myDA%3D%3D

Step 2: Clarify Your Vision

Understanding what sustainability means to you and your business is crucial. It’s about more than just going green; it’s about building a legacy that resonates with your values and your purpose. Are resources or perhaps the climate crisis your thing? Something that you take to heart and think about? Articulating a clear vision sets the direction for the journey ahead. It will make it even more interesting for you and your employees to go to work, but it will also start to attract the share of people in the world that also find that course important. If you would like to know more, you can read this full article on finding your north star: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/create-perpetual-tailwind-jasper-steinhausen/?trackingId=7cYbz3wVQ0ySZF%2FZXtEnwA%3D%3D

Step 3: Map the Journey

With your vision as your north star, outline the practical steps that will guide your business towards it. Prioritize initiatives that simultaneously address critical business challenges and move you closer to your sustainability goals. Whether it’s reducing energy consumption through smart technology or sourcing materials locally to reduce logistics emissions, focus on actions that deliver shared value—for your business, society, and the environment. If you would like to know more about how to do that, then here are an article specifically on that that I wrote earlier on: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-find-your-circular-pathway-jasper-steinhausen/?trackingId=7cYbz3wVQ0ySZF%2FZXtEnwA%3D%3D

Implementing the Change

The planning phase is crucial, but the execution is where the real transformation happens. This stage involves setting tangible goals, engaging your team, and adjusting operations to align with your sustainable vision. In sort putting your money where your month is and backing it with change management practices where needed. Remember, sustainability is a continuous process; it’s about making better choices every day and improving with each step.

Spreading the Word

Once you’ve set the wheels of change in motion, communicate your commitment and progress. Sharing your sustainability journey not only reinforces your brand’s position but also inspires others in the industry to follow suit. It establishes a narrative of leadership and responsibility that resonates with customers, employees, and stakeholders alike.

The Path Ahead

Turning your manufacturing SME into a force for good isn’t an overnight feat. It’s a strategic pivot that requires dedication and perseverance. But as you align your personal ethos with your company’s operations, you’ll find that this alignment not only propels your business forward but also ignites a larger industry-wide shift towards greater sustainability.

It’s not just good for the planet; it’s good for business.

Do you recognize the situation?