The Global Language of Business

One Small Step To Sustainable Business

Jun 24, 2020, by Austin Gleeson - Category: Sustainability

Now is the right time for businesses to meet consumers' increased demands for sustainability.

Late 2019 and early 2020 saw the headwinds for sustainability increase, with a growing number of organisations developing sustainability initiatives. While the COVID-19 crisis threatens the existence of many organisations, it also offers a glimpse into what the sustainable organisation of the future might look like, with shortened supply chains, reduced employee travel and increased brand social purpose.

Arguably, the COVID-19 crisis has become a short, sharp dress-rehearsal for sustainability and a chance for companies to understand how they can succeed in delivering their CSR goals.

The threat of the pandemic was known, just as the risk of not addressing environmental challenges is. Understandably, many organisations found themselves under-prepared to manage the disruption of COVID-19. And while the lockdown has exposed some weaknesses and failings in business operations, it has also shown their adaptability.


Prior to the recent travel restrictions, many businesses pondered over how they could implement sustainability initiatives; others planned how they would begin to allow staff members to work from home, even on a trial basis. Faced with critical issues and limited time, companies have delivered massive step-changes in how they operate. Plans to gradually introduce limited trials of certain staff members working from home have been replaced by the reality of most staff working from home full time.


The events of recent weeks have shown organisations how they can change the game; offered glimpses into how successful they can be when forced to tackle big projects. A number of recent Enterprise Ireland HPSUs are focused on sustainability, sustainability-focused Irish food-techs continuing to expect growth in 2020 and Irish producer launching new products to meet the changing demands of consumers during the lockdown. Among these are the Naked Collective, a new Irish company launching a range of drinks called Mude.

Earlier this month over 50 of the largest companies in Ireland publically updated their commitment to halving their direct carbon footprint between now and 2030

With many businesses currently struggling with decisions around their survival, sustainability may seem like something to be put on the long finger. However, the current crisis demonstrates that they do have the underlying potential to successfully deal with low-probability, high-risk issues. For COVID-19 that potential was unlocked in a short-sharp fashion, but to begin to address sustainability just requires the first baby-steps.


There are many programmes and communities that exist to help organisations take the first steps in sustainability. Foremost amongst these is Lean & Green Europe, the logistics community that is tackling CO2 emissions.

Lean & Green Europe has a proven track record of enabling collaboration in logistics and guiding its over 300 partners towards a less wasteful and a more sustainable future. Their vision is simple, 100% Collaboration = 0% Emissions.

GS1 Ireland is a proud partner, of the community and as Lean & Green Ireland we will soon be working with ambitious Irish organisations, helping them on the road to implementing their sustainability and CO2 emission reductions goals through the Lean & Green 5 Star Programme.

Lean & Green Europe combines the CSR aims of reducing carbon footprints with continuous improvement of operational performance and providing increased value for customers. Customers whose attitudes to retail have changed drastically over the last number of months.


We all know that customer focus points of quality, efficacy, local availability and the ability of technology have accelerated over the past number of weeks. This will continue as we navigate to the ‘new-normal’. The question is what lasting impact these trends will have on consumer behaviour in a “post-normal” era.

Many consumers were on a deliberate curve to sustainability prior to this crisis, many more have joined them since. These groups may have different intentions by these sustainability ideals (social and environmental justice VS. product trust and safety), but their collective thresholds for waste, poor CSR and untrustworthy data will have increased.

GS1 Ireland has an extensive track record of working with its members to design and deliver cost-effective, consumer-centric, sustainability solutions. One such example is Airfield Estate in south Dublin where the partnership has already begun to explore ways in which the use of technology solutions can inform consumers and nudge them to make better food choices.

If your organisation wants to turn sustainability into reality, the Lean & Green programme and community is there to help you.

Take the first step and contact us now, and we’ll help you get started.

To find out more about our Lean & Green programme please contact Alec Tubridy.

Tags: Sustainability, Lean & Green, Carbon Emissions,