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Your brand. It is more than the product you sell or service you provide, but the heartbeat of your company. Especially in today’s world of digital transparency, it couldn’t be more vital to protect it. Your brand must be consistent and rooted in your organisational reality; that which is told on the outside must be equally experienced and lived out within the company walls. When an organisation’s internal reality and its external reputation tell two different stories, consumers will eventually know about it.

Everything matters when it comes to brand reputation these days. How the company operates, what you stand for, your ecological impact –  these factors amongst others are crucial and can help to break, or build, your reputation. Your product simply cannot afford to get into the wrong hands these days. That’s why sustainable and ethical waste management is no longer a ‘someday’ aspiration but an imperative for today’s corporate blueprint. It could literally mean the difference between safeguarding or soiling your company name.

Here’s what you need to know to protect your brand.

The new consumer standard

More than ever, the average consumer expects your business to operate sustainably and ethically, with a growing sense of environmental consciousness and purpose. An ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach to business is fast fading, and a certain level of ROE (Return on Environment) is now demanded. Today organisations are being called to a higher standard of sustainability, where matters like zero waste and carbon footprints steer the direction of customers’ loyalty. Failing to operate your business with an ecological conscience could gravely compromise your brand – a reality that a Deloitte’s 2014 global survey finds to be the number one strategic threat for South African business.

Poor waste management will blunt your sustainable edge and resilience, and put your brand at major risk. It’s important that you partner with a waste service provider who can offer a cradle to grave assurance for your waste – one that will grow your reputation, whilst reducing your carbon footprint. Measurable, innovative waste management mitigates risk and buffers brand value through:

1. Ethical disposal

There are many informal waste managers who come in for less but cannot offer quality or control around the waste disposal process. Rather than a designated waste site or recycling centre, your waste may end up in an undesignated dump site; leaving the natural environment, the local community and your brand vulnerable to its negative impact. Materials such as hazardous waste require safe, skilful handling and selective dumping. Should professional systems not be in place to handle these selective materials, your company could be held liable for the damage and risk to health and safety.

Companies like SmartMatta are equipped to manage and optimise these different processes, with adherence to the highest standards of health and safety. We ensure that your waste is getting to where it needs to be, with expert monitoring and reporting systems in place to track your waste activities and hold the entire process accountable.

2. Compliance

The legal landscape on which South African companies now operate is increasingly complex; your service provider must be able to chart a successful path through it. This means that your provider is well informed and resourced to comply continually with the latest regulations. Landfill disposal demands a stack of fees, permits and other legal obligations. Although tempting to go with the cheaper guys on the street, you will pay the long term repercussions if they fail to meet these requirements. The price tag of non compliance is expensive, potentially devastating to your bottom line as well as to your reputation as an ethical, sustainable business for our future.

3. Quality control

When waste products are left to the wrong hands, and proper disposal protocols are not in place, they can be repurposed illegally as counterfeit goods. For manufacturers and brand owners, this means the packaging of your authentic brand is now holding an inferior product, with no way for the consumer to differentiate between what’s inside and what the label says. This means your name is still out there but a new (and deficient) product is attached to it – a highly unfavourable scenario for any brand owner. 

When in the wrong hands, expired or defective goods can be resold into the free market at rock bottom prices. In this case it’s not the authenticity of your product that is in question, but its quality. Although technically unfit for use, the cost is too irresistible to ignore – and the product sells in spite of your knowledge or control. Both scenarios could translate into serious financial loss, along with the obvious compromise to the quality and integrity of your product.

4. Waste optimisation

But safe waste disposal is not enough. There is tremendous value waiting to be unlocked within your waste streams, which can help catapult your reputation and future proof your brand value. Companies that see their waste as trash are literally throwing money down the drain. It’s vital to partner with a waste provider that rewards recyclability and looks for opportunities to repurpose your waste materials into fresh, new products and services. Not only will your bottom line improve; you will inevitably position your brand as trustworthy and environmentally credible. Optimising your waste streams will welcome in a culture of innovation, incentivising sustainable business and engraving trust onto the public conscience.

More than ever, waste management matters. Benjamin Franklin said it well when he said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” Given the proliferation of today’s digital technologies, this statement is all too wise. Best you invest in a partnership that will ballast and build your reputation, one that withstands the compound challenges of 21st century business and builds your business towards a more prosperous future.

Your brand is everything. Let us help you to make sure that you don’t trash it. 

Interested to know more about how you can safeguard and grow a good brand reputation? Contact us

Download the compliance checklist to see how your company currently complies to SA’s latest legislations. 

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