It’s a common misconception that profitability and sustainability are diametrically opposed. Making an effort to ensure that your small business is environmentally sustainable is not only possible, but it can also be economically advantageous. Sustainability initiatives can help you streamline your operating costs, improve your employee loyalty and morale, make you stand out from the competition, and reduce environmental risks. There has never been a better time to look into ways to make your small business more sustainable. Here are some tips on how you can make the necessary changes to your company’s operations.
As of 2017, we have crossed several ‘points of no return’ when it comes to reversing some of the impacts of climate change. Awareness has become more widespread over the last few years, so it is highly likely that a percentage of your customers will see sustainability measures in business as a positive thing.
Audience research in the form of Facebook Insights and Google Analytics can help you find data on your customers’ key environmental concerns. Look at the sites your audience favours for news content. Examine Google Trends and come up with a list of societal and environmental issues your customers might wish to get behind.
Sustainability can start from looking at your supply chain and making more sustainable choices from there. If you’re in manufacturing, look at using recycled materials or sourcing your inventory from a supplier closer to home.
Hiring a professional to audit your business’s energy usage can help you reduce your company’s environmental impact. This is known as a benchmarking service. Initially, you will need to invest in the audit and subsequent equipment changes. However, you will recoup the investment in the savings made further down the line with increased efficiency.
Even switching energy suppliers to a company that invests in renewable energy will help you lessen your environmental impact. Take a look at our energy procurement services.
Look at every last scrap of waste that your business generates and look for ways to recycle and reduce the amount your businesses throws away in its operations. Examine not only your core supply chain but also your office environment. Do you use paper towels in the bathrooms or disposable plates and cutlery? Look to change these things immediately, as well as reviewing how you dispose of goods. If you haven’t already, try as far as you can to go paperless.
Once you have done what you can to reduce your business’s cost to the environment, you should next look at sustainability strategies that actually add value to your company as a whole.
For this, you will need to think more creatively. If, for example, you choose to open an online store, aim to source ethical and environmentally friendly products. Alternatively, start a fundraising campaign where a certain amount of your profits go towards a charitable cause.
Every business’s environmental goals will be different, so enlisting the help of a professional consultant can help you ensure you are maximising your initiatives and reaping the benefits for your company.
With clear value-adding sustainability goals in mind, you will next need to invest in marketing to spread the message and encourage engagement from your customers. Interviews with key experts, suppliers and the people that benefit from your initiatives will be key to building your reputation as a business that cares about sustainability issues. You may need to design a new website or landing page outlining all of the details. You should also set up promotional events or send press releases to industry news publications to help you get the word out.
With your new sustainability goals in mind, set up systems that allow you to check your progress and make further improvements to maintain efficiency, sustainability and increase popularity with your customers.
By optimising design, using recoverable materials and concentrating on making other people’s lives better, you can enrich the world and have a more positive impact on your environment. Get the benefits of increased efficiency today and see what you can do to make your small business more sustainable tomorrow.
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and branding consultant, helping brands with marketing and all things green. She writes a blog at victoriaecommerce, where she regularly shares her tips.
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