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Social responsibility is becoming a hot topic in the business world, with sustainable practices gaining more and more ground. While every company has its unique mission and goals, making sustainable efforts is something I believe all businesses should be considering. The sustainable movement is not simply an external environmental effort, but it is also a method for connecting with your team and customers on a deeper level.
Many people equate a trip to a beauty salon with gossiping about current celebrity lifestyles, receiving personal guidance on important issues and hearing about the new things going on in our hairstylist’s life since we last saw them. Although we eagerly anticipate and appreciate these special moments, what if we were also contributing to something more significant at the same time?
I have seen the positive influence of sustainable efforts through a sense of contribution since I started my green beauty business five years ago. Being socially responsible has changed the way people interact with us, knowing they are making a global impact when they come to our salon. For instance, less time is spent gossiping with our clients and more time on how their recycled hair clippings will be used to absorb oil spills in the ocean or our commitment to animal rights through the companies we support.
Employees in an environment of philosophical existentialism feel pride, value and loyalty. Your work contributes to something bigger than yourself, and it is about being part of the team that makes you want to come to work every day. Instead of company profit being the No. 1 priority, it is about creating inspiring products or services that help people live better lives. Studies show that 93 percent of employees believe companies must lead with purpose rather than solely focusing on making money. Companies taking this approach can help their workforces feel more inspired, motivated and productive, and a loyal workforce shares their company’s purpose and story with clients.
My company’s sustainable efforts have brought clients who were previously outside of the “green world” to become interested in sustainable practices as well. When asked the best part of having a green business, I would have to say it is the sense of pride we feel seeing our actions inspire a brighter future for our clients, ourselves and the planet.
Are you feeling fired up? Ready to take action with new and innovative strategies that make an impact? Good. Because that is what it’s going to take to create a more socially responsible future. If you want your business to thrive, you need to be proactive and develop creative solutions for the world we live in now.
I am often asked how business leaders in the beauty industry can begin to identify areas of opportunity in their businesses to “go green.” Here are a few first steps a leader in the beauty industry might take when developing more sustainable strategies or practices for their unique business.
1. Create a recycling program. Did you know that the beauty industry creates over 877 pounds of waste every single minute? IBIS World reported 904,718 hair salon businesses in the U.S. in 2022. The math tells me this is a great place to start. Look into starting a recycling program within your company. When switching over, encourage clients with old shampoo bottles or conditioners that they can bring in for recycling. This would give them the incentive to purchase these items sooner and provide an opportunity for environmentalism.
2. Focus on community impact. Find a way to make an impact that aligns with your company values but also evokes change in your local community. For instance, if you partner with companies that distribute cruelty-free products, consider supporting your local humane society with a yearly dog and cat food drive.
3. Go paperless. Buy reusable drinkware and cutlery instead of disposable. Email client receipts instead of printing and build your email list simultaneously. Install a hand dryer in the restroom instead of paper towels. Reuse old product containers as decorations and plant flowers in them.
4. Make the switch to sustainable products. Your products should resonate with the values you hold. When looking for sustainable brands to represent your business, I advise getting clarity on what their core beliefs and principles are — not only to support them but to also ensure they align seamlessly with your company’s purpose as well.
5. Get your clients involved. Inspiring sustainable change is a great way to inspire others and help make your community better.
So put your thinking caps on, get together with your team and brainstorm for ways your unique company can positively impact the world. Let’s work together to create a better tomorrow.