In today’s business climate, more than ever, we are seeing small businesses embrace the role of creating and leading a future of sustainability through their actions. Likewise, investors and consumers have shifted their focus to companies that prioritize the planet and people instead of pure profits.
Making this vital switch can be expensive and intimidating, but it will ultimately reward you through environmental and traditional profits in the long run. So whether you are embracing eco friendly packaging or working to reduce your carbon footprint, small businesses can have a massive impact on the future of sustainable business practices.
What is a Sustainability Plan
While the concept may seem broad and complex, it comes down to making small and meaningful steps to achieving environmental, financial, and societal goals. For example, when a new business opens its door, it uses the local and international community and environment to survive.
By taking these necessary steps from the beginning, you are building a solid foundation to expand your company while remaining conscious about its impact on your community, the environment, and the people who contribute to it.
Do Your Research
Before making the great leap in sustainability, it is crucial to understand what it means for your business or organization to become sustainable. While it is a broad term, you are essentially evaluating the short-term and long-term implications of your services or products. This includes the entire supply chain, from sourcing materials to manufacturing and delivery.
You need to find ways to reuse, reduce and recycle as much as possible while looking for opportunities to effectively reduce your overall consumption and waste. Understanding your business’s shortcomings, the ways you source your energy, your production method, and corporate travel are important places to start.
Utilise Remote Work
During the pandemic, the corporate world witnessed a massive shift in the number of people who switched to remote working. While it was unavoidable for the majority of those who started to work in these new conditions, there was a tremendous and noticeable impact on the environment as a result.
The reduction in daily commuters on the roads, reduced power usage in offices, and a significant decrease in waste production lead to carbon emissions being considerably lower than they have ever been. In addition, allowing your employees the freedom to work from home for at least some of the working week will lessen their pollution contribution on your business’s behalf.
Improve environmental Efficiency
An eye-opening observation made by many over the past three years was learning how unnecessary an office space was to them. Many small businesses found they could continue to operate effectively without a dedicated workspace, allowing them to reduce their overall energy consumption and improve their environmental efficiency.
But for those who still rely on offices, making simple switches adds to noticeable changes. Offering to contribute to public transport fees or promoting cycling initiatives will encourage employees to leave their vehicles at home. Furthermore, switching to green office equipment, choosing eco-friendly paper products and light bulbs, and eliminating unnecessary office additions will reduce your carbon footprint and save you money.
While more expensive, although many debate that the added cost will pay for itself in the long-term, sustainable packaging is one of the most significant ways you can improve your overall green status as a small business. Additionally, it sends a strong and clear signal to consumers that you are dedicated to improving the environment and mitigating the impact of your carbon footprint.
A recent report published by Deloitte indicated that 64% of consumers in the UK alone wanted brands to reduce unnecessary packaging and make greener choices regarding materials and manufacturing. With so many customers heavily favoring conscious consumerism, the initial investment you may have to make will lead to continued support and favor.
If you plan to provide a large number of products to your customers, consider focusing mainly on e-commerce. While some still prefer to head to the shops and have the chance to see and experience items before purchasing them, the convenience of shopping online is a proven winner to most.
There are concerns about excessive packaging and additional carbon emissions from delivery. But in most cases, it has been proven to be more eco-friendly than traditional shopping methods. Furthermore, you are able to reach a wider audience online compared to relying solely on foot traffic.
Become Industry Standards
When businesses first started making the switch to sustainable operations, many owners believed it would not be possible to run a large and successful company under these conditions. While this simply isn’t true, it has caused many industries not to create sustainable business models for their enterprises.
This opens up the opportunity for you to become an industry standard by leading the way with your small business. The creativity and dedication to moving forward with green business models, sustainable products, and environmentally aware practices will set you apart from the competition and leaves a lasting impression on consumers, clients, and investors.