10 Reasons to Adopt Sustainable Waste Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set up by the United Nations General Assembly are a “blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.”
Goals to drive growth, address risk, attract capital and focus on purpose.
Adopting SDGs can help media companies drive growth by offering a collective framework to address today’s pressing issues. Media companies can participate in SDG efforts and make their company more resilient for the future. Mirroring the UN’s SDG goals could be a valuable template for TV/Film, Newspaper, Radio, and the entire media industry. SDGs address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, waste, peace, and justice.

Let’s examine the 10 benefits media companies can gain from participating in sustainable waste efforts.

  1. Attract capital
    Investors are increasingly looking to contribute capital to businesses engaged in strategically prioritizing sustainability efforts. They know that social and sustainability initiatives adopted today are addressing the risks of tomorrow. Investors use many nonfinancial markers to inform their decision-making process and assess a company’s capabilities for managing ESGs.

Poor waste management is a key liability. Investors want to see more circular economy practices as they hold prosperous opportunities for establishing a competitive advantage in today’s market. SDG goal #12 addresses responsible consumption linked to economic growth, increased relevance, and improved shareholder value.

In a survey conducted by BlackRock of 425 investors in 27 countries representing $25 trillion, it was found that sustainability is a key component of their investment approach. It is clear investors understand sustainability issues are to be solved by viable businesses. In fact, 54% of global respondents consider sustainable investing to be fundamental to investment processes and outcomes. Click here to learn more.

  1. PR and relevancy
    Since media companies of all types have public visibility, adopting SDGs can both amplify your media brand’s image and increase awareness about SDGs, encouraging others to make a commitment and increase the overall impact of SDGs. Many media company websites have no sustainability or ESG reporting. This is a missed opportunity to drill down on sustainability goals and make them visible to stakeholders, while promoting a positive public opinion.

Communicating an honest and sustainable narrative helps media brands better engage with stakeholders. Storytelling around SDG goals and ESG initiatives can help companies create clarity in a way that amplifies social and environmental impact while satisfying or even exceeding demands for increased transparency. It’s important to have PR around your SDG commitments. Click here to learn more.

  1. Monetize waste and increase circularity per SDG goal #12
    The media industry produces large quantities of various types of waste. The opportunity to adopt circularity with SDG goal #12 comes with the opportunity to monetize post-consumable products. ​Diverting after-market products from landfills can help media companies win back waste losses.

Keeping your environment waste-free cannot always be achieved, however in alignment with SDG goal #12, sourcing responsible products can help you leverage other companies’ waste or help you sell yours. Sourcing the right partners means retaining more profits from responsible waste management efforts. This starts with taking a deep look and carefully auditing your trash. Identify after-market selling opportunities to transform your waste stream into a profit source and turning that trash into cash.

To stay relevant and agile, recycling and reducing waste will need more support. Tracking, reporting, and managing waste means not losing track of where your waste enters your supply chain and where it ends up. Meaning it should only go to a landfill as an ultimate last resort.

Here are some highlights from media company projects engaged in upcycling and reselling to make money from their waste.

Paramount Pictures’ “Noah” recouped $45,000 from selling their scrap metal.
Spider-Man 2 saved 5%, or $4,732, of its total waste hauling expenses by composting and recycling.

Composting, recycling, and offering up props and set materials for reuse can cut waste disposal budgets by 40%. Exchanging disposable nine-volt batteries for rechargeable batteries can shrink battery costs by nearly 60%. Some film productions have seen a 51% decrease in their water bills by cutting out single-use bottled water and incorporating water dispensers and reusable bottles.

  1. Increase transparency
    Adopting SDGs can help media companies improve transparency. When SDGs are taken on, an action plan is put into place that specifically addresses the particular SDG goals. That action plan is registered with the UN and should be shared and promoted across multiple channels with all stakeholders.

The fact is, we are living in an age of increasing transparency. There are new members of the workforce that care about contributing to improved environmental conditions. Still, to make improvements, current conditions like carbon emissions and solid waste levels must be measured. Business leaders that want to reduce their company’s carbon footprints or minimize waste must meet the need of a public that demands transparency or develop a rubric to start measuring their impact.

  1. Employee retention and engagement
    Effective employee attraction and retention strategies are in high demand. One study from UCLA showed companies that voluntarily adopt international sustainability standards and practices have an employee base that is 16% more productive than the average. Employees in the study tended to be more:

Receive more training
Benefit from better interpersonal relationships
Were more productive

Adopting SDG goals pertaining to sustainability can help increase employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention. Click here to learn more.

  1. Adopt internationally relevant goals across facilities
    SDGs can give media companies that operate in many locations a starting point for consolidating sustainable and social efforts. SDGs, by design, help address some of the world’s biggest crises like climate change and inequalities that impact communities of all sizes across the globe. This international starting point is ideal for addressing measurable goals at each of a media company’s facilities across the world.
  2. New source of capital
    In addition to the long-term cost-cutting and budget wins, the World Bank has issued financial backing for SDG goal achievement. The equity-index linked sustainability bonds financed by institutional investors to support SDG projects are most relevant to media companies. The ROI of the bonds is directly related to a company’s stock performance included in the Solactive Sustainable Development Goals World Index. The index recognizes leaders in their industries for social and sustainable contributions, showing how SDG-committed business models benefit from new avenues of capital.
  3. Creating shared value for stakeholders
    It’s a unique time to be a C-suite executive. There are many opportunities to improve conditions around the world and tie actions back into business objectives. Supporting media facility’s local communities with the SDG projects creates value while improving your company’s place in the world.
    According to investors surveyed, the most significant motivating factor is building brand reputation with customers. SDGs are seen as positive, and companies that engage in social and environmental projects can share project accomplishments to build trust and improve brand reputation.
  4. ESG reporting
    With concerted SDG adoption and projects in place, media companies can begin a more concerted effort on ESG reporting. The SEC stated that it would begin efforts to more diligently monitor the accuracy of ESG reporting. With the increase of climate and waste reporting, investors deserve accurate information about the companies they invest in. ESG reporting delivers that transparency for investors and other stakeholders but only as long as those reports are accurate and speak to the future of the company’s social and sustainable goals.
  5. Engagement across media facilities on a circular economy
    Circularity is the driving force of SDG goal #12. Supply chains and disposal patterns significantly impact staff mindset and actions around waste at work and home. Waste education campaigns for staff is a Fortune 100 trend that is consistently growing. These team educational campaigns have proven to be a litmus test for the success of sustainability initiatives. When circulatory becomes company culture, staff begins to consider waste and this contributes to better practices around reuse, reduction, and upcycling efforts. Companies like Intuit have leveraged staff campaigns on water refill stations to reduce waste. Multi-channel announcements that explain the why and how of reusing a water bottle is just one example of engagement that create lifelong commitments to circular efforts.

Media companies can hone their sustainability efforts by beginning with an SDG framework for goals. When media companies participate in sustainable waste efforts by adopting SDGs, they create a more resilient future for all.

© 2023 National Waste Associates