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Walking the sustainability talk

Our Younity MD Richard Vaughan shares why sustainability is so important to our company and his top three tips to guide your business towards a more sustainable path.

“Earlier this month the CIO Awards winners were announced, and I want to heartily congratulate Christchurch City Council who won our award category ‘Sustainability Through Technology’ this year.

We’re very proud sponsors of this award, and believe it raises awareness of organisations who are making a real impact on their communities by using tech for innovative sustainable solutions.

Sustainability is very important to us.

Right from the start we made a conscious effort to run Younity as carbon neutral as possible and embed a sustainability ethos in our culture, our operations, and our business processes.

Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

Yes, cutting out waste, optimising our business processes and investing in sustainable technologies has led to excellent cost savings and increased profitability for Younity.  

But for us it’s our moral obligation to make things better for our next generation. We believe we all need to do our bit to make a difference. And by embracing sustainable practices we’ve found lots of upside across our business.

Positive ripple effects.

It created a positive brand image for Younity which resonates with our staff, our clients, and candidates. People are increasingly choosing brands or employers that prioritise environmental responsibility and take action to reduce their impact on the planet.

We’ve also found that these shared values lead to lasting and meaningful relationships, our staff turnover is remarkably low and we’ve built a loyal client and candidate base that’s grown exponentially over the last five years.

Our commitment to walk the talk doesn’t mean we get sustainability always right or do it perfectly, but it does mean that we are mindful about how we do things. Being mindful of how we source our gifts, how we travel for work, how we use our office space, how we can partner with local businesses who share our vision of quality and sustainability, it all adds up.

I strongly believe that if we all did our bit and everyone worked in a sustainable way, we can make a huge difference and give our kids a brighter future. As individuals we can only make a small difference in this world, while we as businesses can have a much wider sphere of influence and can drive impactful societal change more effectively. 

Looking back over our journey to now, I think the following three points can be helpful if you want to build a culture of sustainability across your business.

Make it easy for your staff to change their behaviours.

We support our staff by offering free Reusabowls for their takeaways (which is wildly popular) and everyone gets a reusable coffee cup when they join. This year we’ve also banned all single use takeaway cups from our office floor, and since doing this we’ve seen a massive impact in our waste collection – no more countless cups and lids all going to landfill filling up our waste bin.

Build sustainable practices across your business, make it business as usual.

Think about how you can minimise waste and how you can optimise your office systems and technology. We don’t encourage printing, unless it’s necessary and run a paper-light office. We’ve also gone paperless with our onboarding of staff and contractors using an HR app, cloud workflow and electronic signatures to get everyone on board.

Clear, consistent communication is key.

Recycling can be confusing – what stays in, what goes out, right? We found that using visual tools at our recycling bins, sharing clear information via email, in person and on our intranet helped heaps to get our staff to recycle better. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel – there are some good resources available out there, from local Council websites to organisations such as Recycle Kiwi who sent us helpful posters and information for free.”

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