It’s often argued, and rightly so, that reduction in wastage is a key step towards meeting sustainability goals. So for instance, when the foddies are careful that the portions on their plates are not more than what they would consume, they are perhaps being very much sustainability minded.

There is a catch though. What if a person is mindful of the portions at home but not necessarily at an occasion where he or she may not be paying for the food? Wouldn’t that break what would have potentially been a virtuous chain of sustainability?
What causes this breakage? More importantly, what steps can prevent such breakages from happening, or at least, what could reduce their incidences?
If we analyze people’s and organizations ‘sustainability’ behaviors and initiatives, those are more often than not, driven by a ‘self’ motive—of saving, cutting costs or improving operating margins (in case of organizations). And in all such cases, the sustainability efforts are driven by the ‘profit’ motto, even if they are camouflaged with ‘people’ and ‘planet’ dress-ups.
No wonder that when a profit-driven organization makes a sustainability appeal to its customers, it is met with a fair bit of skepticism and distrust.
So when a bank or a telecom service provider urges its customers to save trees by opting for paperless monthly statements or bills, it actually leaves the customers with an uneasy sense that their consent would help the provider save some amount on the printing and logistics fronts and that the savings would just add to their [providers] profits. Now while customers may still opt for the e-statements for various reasons, convenience being one, it’s unlikely that they would start seeing the providers actually as sustainability-guided organizations.
What could be some of the measures that can help the providers change people’s perception towards their sustainability efforts?
It is important that organizations articulate how they would be using the savings they could realize due to their customers’ support. Sharing the benefits with those very customers in the form of, say reward points, could also incentivize customers to participate in other sustainability programs and likely make them more trustful of the initiatives taken by organizations.
The corporates also need to note that the momentum for corporate sustainability has gathered more only after the benefits [read profits] associated with sustainable technologies and processes have become more definitive and measurable? (Else, it used to be some individuals’ passion at best, no matter how sincere it got.)
If so, why should it be any different with the customers? Wouldn’t they find it more incentivizing if they received their due shares of profits and were not just left to carry the ‘planet’ baton?
After all, if sustainability is about all three—profits, people and planet—corporates should be able to involve customers on all the three aspects.
And of course, it is also much important for organizations to communicate on the sustainability initiatives that they are taking and the ways in which their customers can actually profitby actively participating in those programs. 
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