I recently had the opportunity to attend an event focused on the topic of sustainability. It was interesting to see how companies from different industries, as well as companies of different sizes—from large, global leaders to enterprising up-starts—integrate sustainability into their missions. I started to think about how a commitment to the environment could be integrated into a real estate company’s mission.
Sustainability can mean large, global issues such as protecting the ozone layer or saving the rainforests. It can also mean something closer to home: cleaning up a park; implementing environmentally-friendly business practices such as using online resources vs. paper; or volunteering as a group to raise money for a local or regional cause.
5 Ways to Create Sustainability in Your Business
There were five key learnings from the conference that apply to local efforts as well as large-scale efforts which I wanted to share with you:
1. Make it actionable: As a real estate professional you have a lot on your plate. Marketing. Selling. Relationship building. If sustainability is something you want to incorporate into your company’s mission, or your personal brand as a professional, tackle the activities that you find enjoyment in and that you can support given the time and resources you have. Making a small difference can have big impact.
2. Make it easy to understand: If you are a broker creating a sustainability platform for your company, make sure you clearly communicate what you are getting involved in and why. Although many of us can say, “I get why supporting the environment is important”, sometimes people need that extra clarity to draw the link between what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how the benefits impact the community and them as people (and professionals)
3. Make it real through storytelling: This not only means sharing experiences with your employees, colleagues and sphere through conversation; it also means sharing your company’s efforts with the local community via PR and company-level social media. Having the tangible stories makes the idea of sustainability real, and inspires others to get involved. From a professional standpoint, sustainability can be a differentiator. Share the good news.
4. Let people choose how they want to get involved: The best way to create a culture of sustainability (or to get more involved on a personal level) is to expose people (or yourself) to options. Don’t like to work outside? Donate to local groups/causes. Love to be out in the sun? Volunteer for activities that leverage your sweat equity vs. your financial resources. Are you well known in your community? Support a sustainability cause by merchandising it through your social media to help spread the word.
5. Measure: If you are a broker or company manager, take advantage of pre-existing meetings, surveys and feedback channels to see how these activities are fostering team-building, professional satisfaction and retention.
Real estate is local. Community-focused sustainability can be a wonderful way for you or your company to foster closer ties to your local market, and to the people and places within it.
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