Sustainability. A big, scary word to wrap your head around. It encompasses such humble goals as fighting climate change, providing safe and humane living conditions for all, maintaining biodiversity, eliminating toxins from our ecosystems, and generally just making sure that humans have a better, safer, fairer world to live in now and in the future. Simple enough, right?
In a nutshell, sustainability is all about doing more good than harm for the world as a whole. To figure out what “good” actually means, the UN Sustainable Development Goals are a good start. These 17 goals were adopted in 2015 and outline such global goals as zero hunger, affordable and clean energy for all, or sustainable production and consumption, with all goals aiming for specific targets to be reached by 2030.
Every one of us has an effect on how these targets play out, whether we actively work towards these goals or choose to look the other way. This is why sustainability is a core value at Slush: we want to be part of the solution, not the problem. Not only that, but the ability of startups to continue thriving and innovating is dependent on stable, functional markets, ample resources and global cooperation among businesses. Rocketing worldwide temperatures, unpredictable weather patterns or social unrest and inequality are not conducive to ideal conditions for practicing entrepreneurship.
How does Slush play its part?
Companies can work towards sustainability in a variety of ways: product innovation, better office practices, environmental management programs, or through community outreach. No matter what the combination for sustainability is though, the most important part of any company’s sustainability work is in their core business, their purpose for being. If this very DNA of a company is encouraging wasteful lifestyles or creating social injustice, a office carpooling system is unlikely to tip the scales in favor of sustainability.
At Slush, we work tirelessly to ensure that one of the most effective ways of changing the world, becoming an entrepreneur, is accessible for everyone. It pains us to think that a great idea with the potential to disrupt the status quo and make the world a truly better place might be stuck in someone’s head just because they don’t have access to the right resources or entrepreneurship isn’t seen as a legitimate career path. By providing inspiration, resources and networks for the innovators of the world, we can amplify our own efforts towards a better world through the work of the entrepreneurs that come in contact with Slush.
Of course, in the process of doing this, we leave our own footprint, and in the same way that we work to increase the good we do, we also work tirelessly to minimize the harm. This is done in real terms through our event planning and partnerships. Since 2016, Slush has been certified by EcoCompass, meaning we report yearly on key figures on waste, energy, logistics, and suppliers in our event and set yearly goals that push us to improve across these indicators. So far, we have decreased our footprint in a number of ways, including using only biodegradable disposables, buying green electricity, using recycled textiles for our volunteer uniforms, and handing out free passes for public transportation to our attendees.
Sustainability is a big word with a lot of targets, ambitions and even controversy enclosed in it. But it has never been in the identity of Slush to not try something just because it seemed hard or even impossible. Sustainability is at the core of how we work, whether that is in helping entrepreneurs with world-changing ideas or finetuning our operations for continuous improvements.
In the end, these efforts will mean that Slush left the world better than we found it.