Social Consciousness in Business & Sustainable Workspaces

Businesses changing to become sustainable workspaces feature

The American songwriting icon Bob Dylan once presciently sang that the times they are a-changin’. While a lot of water may have passed under the bridge since its initial release, if you listen closely enough you can still hear the unbridled optimism and righteous passion of youth as clearly today as you ever could upon its initial release. 

Led by remarkable young iconoclasts like Greta Thunberg, an entire generation of young people are determined to break the mould and remodel the world into a better, fairer, and safer place for everyone. The repercussions promise to be huge. 

I’m sure many of us have rolled our eyes at the sight of office lights burning away dusk ‘till dawn, lighting up the space for an absent workforce. Increased demand for sustainable workspaces run by people who value social consciousness in business is steadily becoming more of a necessity than a luxury — and with enough momentum, it might even become accepted as the new normal. 

Sustainability is seen by many as the sweet spot at the centre of a venn diagram consisting of profit, environmental impact, and local community. It’s all neatly tied into the three pillars of ESG — a concept that is shaping developments in enterprises everywhere. Let’s take a closer look, then, at our rapidly changing world, the rise of social consciousness in business, and how this feeds a demand for sustainable workspaces.

What is ESG and Why Does it Matter?

ESG stands for environmental, social and governance. These factors are important for investors to get an understanding of a company’s commitment to sustainability. ESG puts environmental concerns at the heart of a business, along with the health and wellbeing of employees and the wider community to which the business belongs.

Let’s take a look at the separate elements of ESG in more detail:

Environmental

This element is focused on how a business minimises its impact on the environment. Environmental business practices often include:

  • Choose renewables: Opting for renewable energy over reliance on fossil fuels
  • Go green: Embracing green products and services
  • Waste not: Make a conscious attempt to minimise waste
  • Be a bright spark: Start using LED lighting
  • Recycle: Give the local landfill a welcome respite from non-perishables like plastic.

Social

This element of ESG is concerned with the role a business plays in the local community and broader society. Social business practices can include:

  • Putting the customer first: Are products and services safe and customer friendly?
  • Be a people person: Think about health and safety, look after your own employees and others in your supply chain
  • Play fair: Promote diversity in your workspace
  • Be a local legend: Give back to your local community as much as you can

Governance

The final piece of the ESG jigsaw is all about displaying transparency and having rigorous internal processes. Examples of good governance practices include:

  • Give a good account: Are managers accountable for safety and potential risks? 
  • Managing diversity: Is your management team diverse? Diverse voices and transparency are important

 

Use Events

While ESG can be useful for finding ethically minded investors, it’s also a great guide for smaller businesses. Developing a caring and forward-thinking reputation can go a long way towards establishing you as a force for good — which can bring its own rewards. Developing an ESG strategy can give you a head start in an increasingly ethical world, as well as cutting costs by keeping waste to a bare minimum. It can also help you to attract the best, socially-conscious, employees and strike up relationships with similarly caring businesses.

Success is about being a good person. David LaChapelle quote

Social Consciousness in Business

Social consciousness in business means thinking about factors other than just profit. Socially responsible organisations take a wider view of success,  going beyond serving the best interests of shareholders and finding purpose in helping their own employees, supporting the local community, and working to the benefit of society in general.  

A lack of alternatives used to mean that consumers were pretty much compelled to use the products and services of certain companies, even if unethical business practices came to light. The days of having to turn a blind eye to shady operations seem, thankfully, to be coming to an end. Consumers, especially within younger demographics, are now just a click away from finding out what skeletons Business X has in its closet, so will happily switch to Business Y. As a result, this dark side has a struggle on their hands if they want to win over the ethically-minded consumer of the day.

For some, sustainability and ethics have completely overtaken brand names in the average Millennial and Gen Z consumer’s hierarchy of importance. On a personal level, the current crop of young professionals have keen ethical concerns that help to shape their attitudes, behaviours, and buying habits. Increasingly, this principled and tech-savvy group is starting to leave a disruptive footprint on far-ranging spheres, from the need for ethical business models to a growing demand for sustainable office design. 

Use.Space: The Sustainable Workspace that Cares

At Use.Space, we’re happy to be a force for goodness wherever we can. We’re passionate about offering sustainable workspaces that put people and the planet at the centre of our thriving and fun community. We’re also deeply passionate about ethical causes both local and global. 

Here are just a few of the worthwhile causes that we are delighted to support:

Save the Rhino

Save the Rhino is a fantastic charity that is committed to preserving dwindling numbers of these magnificent animals. Of the five rhino species, two have less than 80 animals left. That needs to change. 

We’re so passionate about these beautiful creatures that the Use.Space rhino has become our mascot and a symbol of our love for Mother Nature.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

We’re committed to promoting the UN’s 17 development goals that aim to end global poverty, tackle climate change, promote education, and much more. This is a worldwide initiative involving both the developed and developing world and we’re truly excited about its ambition.

Good is the New Cool

Use.Space proudly supports the aims of ‘Good is the New Cool’, a purpose-driven agenda that looks to promote ethical practices in business. If you’ve ever wondered if your work could be more meaningful, this innovative multimedia brand has some incredible ideas.  

Force of Nature

At Use.Space, we’re passionate about the vim and vigour of youth, none more so than our residents, ‘Force of Nature. A fantastic organisation that is kickstarting grass-roots conversations about climate change, Force of Nature’s brilliant pop-up Climate Cafes have empowered global activists to promote the wellbeing of our planet.

Force of Nature Climate Cafe

The Importance of Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices 

Sustainable work practices can lead to huge benefits for businesses. Not only is sustainability a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and better care for the environment, but it can also minimise waste and reduce operating costs. Additional benefits of sustainability include creating a more ethical work environment, which can help to attract and retain the best employees.

Sustainable workspaces are genuinely appealing places to work for growing numbers of businesses. Let’s take a look at the benefits of sustainable office design and working practices in more detail:

  • Shrink that carbon footprint: Saving the planet is a worthy reason in itself. It also helps that businesses and customers look favourably on workspaces that care about their impact. We can all do our bit and there’s no time like the present to start making a difference. 
  • Be a culture vulture: If a business cares about how it acts, that ethos is much more likely to filter down to the way its people behave. A strong working culture starts at the top —with empathy and respect.
  • Keep the talent happy: Sustainability initiatives make your people feel happier in work. If you make your teams happy, they’ll pay you back in effort and loyalty

 

Upcycled table tops. Part of our commitment to creating sustainable workspaces

Sustainable office design makes workspaces that everyone can get behind. Creating a green, welcoming community can make a home away from home that feels less like the grey traditional office spaces of days gone by and more like an idyllic sanctuary. A place to kick back, get creative and show you care.

To learn more about Use.Space’s passion for creating the perfect work environment, you can read our blog here

Use.Space’s Commitment to the Ultimate Sustainable Workspace 

We like to do things differently at Use.Space. Our commitment to providing a one-of-kind, thriving community has to be seen and experienced to be believed. From ethically-minded local suppliers, to carefully chosen lighting and greenery — we leave no stone unturned in our mission to create a bright, breezy, fun and sustainable workspace. 

Here are just a few of things we do:

  • Biophilic work environment: With over 600 plants dotted around the offices, helping to create a stunning indoor forest, businesses are able to stay totally connected to nature all day. This constant link to the outer world improves air quality, promotes serenity, and helps teams get productive.
  • We use sustainable coffee pods: Not only are Grind’s drinks a coffee-lover’s idea of liquid heaven — they’re also the most sustainable pod on the planet and 100% compostable. To go a step further, at Use.Space we recycle the used pods to achieve maximum greenery. 
  • We use McQueen’s Dairies: We say no to plastics. As a result, we’ve switched over to this local dairy on account of their delicious products and recyclable glass bottles. Milk delivery isn’t just for rural lives! 
  • Better ways of wiping: Who Gives a Crap? We do, frankly! So much so that we’ve signed up with the B Corp certified ethical toilet paper supplier that doesn’t use plastics and gives half of its profits to people in need.
  • Less packaging: We buy cleaning products in bulk to keep waste packaging at an absolute minimum. 
  • Efficient lighting: We use LED bulbs in each and every one of the lights in our offices (and we only use them when they’re actually needed)
  • Free-for-all Fridays: We hate waste, so any leftovers are given away at the end of each week
  • H2 Oh Yes Please: We provide water dispensers to discourage plastic water bottle consumption. Ultimately, less plastics means less waste heading to the nearest landfill.
  • Turn the (boats into) Tables: All of the tables in our cafeteria are reclaimed and upcycled from discarded Chinese junk boats. 
  • Grow Green: We have an in-house plants growth chamber and this carefully controlled environment helps us to maintain our lush indoor forest.
  • Back to the source: When the chef comes to our building he uses the very best responsibly (locally) sourced ingredients for peak sustainability.
  • Local and proud: We use local companies and resources as much as humanly possible to help support the most deserving local enterprises.
  • Waste not want not: Too Good to Go are a highly-valued resident here at Use.Space. Their mission is to make sure that no food from shops, cafes, restaurants, and more goes to waste — an approach that has helped 25,000 (and counting) businesses cut down on food waste.

Daring to be Different: Use.Space

At Use.Space we firmly reject the same-old, same-old. By creating a sustainable workspace with a true sense of community, we’ve formed a thriving hub that nourishes and supports up-and-coming local businesses. It’s a workplace without traditional limits, where optimism can flourish, great minds are free to dream up amazing things and boundaries don’t exist. 

From local charities to local businesses, community is at the heart of everything we do. We embrace open minds and diversity and have created a sustainable office design that is warm, friendly, and inclusive. 

For more details about our workspaces, or to learn more about our range of memberships, contact us online or call us on 07712 177701.

Use.News

Stay up to date with how you can develop and grow your business at Manchester's most innovative co-working space.