Stand Out Among Competition By Steering Toward Sustainability

April 22, 2019

"Going green” doesn’t have to be expensive and it can be a great way to impress potential office coffee service customers. As more companies use sustainability to attract and retain employees, OCS operators that market the ways they help with an environmentally friendly image will be in demand.

Sustainability and company success 

In 2016, Cone Communications conducted an online survey studying employee engagement best practices with Millennials. A random sample of 1,020 adults employed at companies with at least 1,000 employees found in several measures that Millennials, who made up about a third of the workforce in 2017 according to a Pew Research Center analysis, want their companies to invest in sustainability. 

For example, 89 percent of the surveyed workers, and an average of 77 percent of U.S. workers overall, want employers to provide hands-on activities in the workplace, such as helping to increase recycling rates, to benefit the environment. Sixty-four percent of the survey participants stated they wouldn’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong social or environmental commitments.

McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, conducted research on the financial impact of corporate sustainability initiatives, including interviews with executives at 40 companies. 

What these interviews demonstrated is that companies that built sustainability into their operations saw immediate benefits, and that gave them the momentum to do even more, creating the conditions for long-term success,” the report stated.  

Alternatively, the report noted, business risks involving the environment can affect as much as 25 to 70 percent of a company’s earnings due to reputation and regulation concerns, rising operating costs and the risk of supply-chain delays.

Companies that haven’t already considered how to make sustainability a clear priority will soon need to in order to stay relevant. Major brands  from Disney to Ulta Beauty have publicly created and accomplished goals for protecting the environment, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, through their business practices. OCS operators can capitalize on this trend and be part of the solution corporations are seeking by gearing their own operations toward helping businesses achieve “green” goals.

Know coffee manufacturers’ sustainability successes 

To ensure a good working relationship with corporate clients, operators should establish trust. Operators can bridge the gap between coffee manufacturers and corporations in their market by understanding what the manufacturers do to make their products and overall operations environmentally friendly and then including that in their sales pitch to the corporation. If the operator effectively makes the case to the corporation that this is a way for the business to achieve its goals of sustainability, then the operator might get the contract he or she desires with the company.    

The operator can learn this information by reviewing sustainability reports manufacturers have made publicly available, often via their websites, or directly asking manufacturers what they do for the environment. They could find out whether the manufacturer is part of a green organization and whether it works to ensure its coffee is produced in an environmentally responsible manner.    

For example, Wolfgang Puck Coffee uses carbon-free energy from natural and renewable resources to power its roasting plant, and its coffee pods are wholly compostable. The Coca-Cola Company has a goal, according to its 2018 “World without Waste” progress report, to make its packaging 100 percent recyclable globally by 2025 and use at least 50 percent recycled material in its packaging by 2030.

Operators can also offer environmentally friendly supplies besides coffee that are involved in their provision of OCS to businesses. Operators can look for more sustainable packaging, which might use less material, be more reusable or be more easily recyclable, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  

Initiate eco-friendly practices 

Several OCS providers have addressed sustainability in their marketing and practices. 

Corporate Coffee Systemsan OCS provider headquartered in Westbury, NY, offers businesses a measurement of how it has increased sustainability. It will provide the company with quarterly and annual environmental impact statements that the company can share with its employees and the public.

Associated Services, an OCS operator in Northern California, boasts its commitment to sustainable solutions in its operations and how its employees actively help clients achieve their sustainability goals. 

Joyride Coffee, which partners with OCS operators and provides cold brew coffee, highlights its focus on sustainability in its vision statement. Three steps Joyride takes toward sustainability are using cold brew kegs to eliminate plastic use, sourcing and producing its coffee and tea locally, and reducing the number of delivery trips, thereby reducing carbon emissions. 

Optimizing the marketing materials 

An indirect way to appeal to office workers’ interest in health and sustainability is to employ color theory. HART Design & Manufacturing’s April 2016 article “How Food Packaging Color Influences Consumer Behavior states that the trendy color to use to associate packaging with freshness, health and “natural” is green. Operators can take advantage of that trend by using the color throughout their marketing materials and products displays. By drawing employees in with appropriate colors, operators might achieve more sales. 

While making decisions on which products to provide, operators can develop their marketing strategy to skillfully, comprehensively present their commitment to environmentally friendly practices to these companies that are seeking to “go green.” 


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