If you’re running a small business, your environmental impact may be something you haven’t given much thought to. After all, it’s the big corporations making all the waste right?
Although your sustainability efforts may seem like a drop in the ocean, your customers don’t see it that way.
Customers are becoming invested in the sustainability of their favourite brands and shops. Studies show that in 2020 71% of customers would pay more for environmentally responsible brands, and 57% would consider changing their shopping habits to be more sustainable.
This suggests that what’s good for the planet, may be good for your small business too. Keep reading this guide for tips on how to make your business more sustainable and remain enticing to today’s eco-conscious customers.
Get an environmental audit
An environmental audit gives you a clear look into the environmental footprint of your business and what areas of improvement there may be. This allows you to make informed decisions on how to improve your sustainability and how to prioritise your actions.
On top of this, it can also help you to manage any risks and show customers, shareholders and the government that you are taking your sustainability efforts seriously.
Environmental audits should always be carried out by a neutral and objective party. Get them done semi-regularly so that you can track your progress and update your business’s environmental plan accordingly.
Work with a professional waste management company
Working with a professional waste management company is one of the key components of making your business more sustainable. They will responsibly manage your waste and recycling while also protecting your secure information from being breached.
With it now being illegal to send electronic waste to landfills due to its severe environmental impact, e-waste recycling is more important than ever. A waste management company will be able to follow all laws and regulations while disposing of your e-waste, and ensure that any data is permanently removed from these devices before disposal.
Secure paper shredding services and document destruction will ensure that all your data is safely and responsibly handled, all while being recycled and reducing your waste. Working with a professional waste management company is the only way to ensure that your waste is being disposed of sustainably and securely.
Educate and communicate with your employees
For a business to be sustainable, everyone has to be on board. There’s no point coming up with an action plan if you’re the only one who’s going to follow it, so make sure your entire team is on the same page.
Educate your team about the importance of sustainability and the steps the business is taking to become greener. This will encourage them to get actively involved and be a part of the process. It’s also likely to make them feel proud to be part of a business that genuinely cares about making a difference, and may even improve morale.
It’s also important that your team is aware of these practices so that if customers or clients ask about the businesses sustainability efforts, they’ll have a clear and concise answer at the ready.
Use sustainable products
Using sustainable products is one of the easiest ways to reduce the environmental footprint of your small business. For paper items such as printer paper and toilet paper, make sure it’s recycled and locally made.
When it comes to cleaning products, make sure you opt for green products that are non-toxic and use natural ingredients. Purchasing these products is a simple and effective way to make your business more eco-friendly.
Manage energy use
Reducing your businesses energy use will not only decrease its carbon footprint but also save you money on power and electricity bills in the process. Some of the ways you can manage your energy usage are:
- Buying energy-efficient light bulbs
- Try and reduce energy output during peak periods
- Reduce escaped heat by double-glazing windows and insulating walls
- Use energy-efficient appliances/technologies (fridges, air conditioners, computers)
- Install solar systems
Utilising these techniques will greatly reduce your emissions and may even help you increase your profit margins with the money you could save.
Offer remote work
With many employees noting increased productivity when working from home, there’s less need for employees to be in the office full-time. Working from home is great for the environment, as it means fewer people on the roads and less of a reliance on cars, motorcycles and public transport.
On top of this, fewer people in the office means that you may save money on lighting, air conditioning and kitchen supplies, making it a win-win for everyone involved.
No matter how small we or our business may seem in the big scheme of things, all of us contribute to pollution and climate change in one way or another. Even if it feels inconsequential, making the effort to improve the sustainability of your business can make a genuine difference and improve your relationships with clients and customers alike.