In business, sustainability refers to conducting activities in a manner that leaves little to no environmental impact. As a small business owner, improving your brand’s sustainability holds incredible benefits for the environment and your bottom line.
Customers Want to Purchase from Sustainable Companies
More than ever, customers are looking to shop with sustainable businesses. A study by the Economist Intelligence Unit showed a 71% increase in searches for sustainable goods. The change in consumer behavior can be attributed to buyers learning more and experiencing it firsthand. Sustainable is all about reducing climate change and experiencing its catastrophic impact. The result is consumers are making more eco-conscious decisions. To oppose this existential threat and demand that business owners adopt a sustainable approach to their daily operations.
Positioning your business as eco-friendly and sincere efforts to do social good can endear customers to your brand and strengthen their loyalty.
Certificates for Eco-friendly Businesses
Awarding a Green business certification that adopts eco-friendly practices and is environmentally responsible. Getting these certificates is a surefire way of winning the approval of customers and investors, who converge on companies that genuinely commit to sustainability. The certificates typically come from by third-party organizations, such as non-profits, government agencies, or industry associations.
A green business certification proves your business’ dedication to environmental protection and distinguishes you from the ‘greenwashers’ that customers despise. ‘Greenwashers’ are businesses that parade themselves as environmentally-conscious without having an actual social impact. Green business certifications present a perfect way to show that your business follows sustainable business practices without being mistaken for a ‘greenwasher.’
Reduce Your Small Business’ Carbon Footprint
Carbon footprint refers to greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, or chlorofluorocarbons) that result from human actions. It includes emissions associated with fossil fuel combustion in industrial processes, transportation, residential activities, and electricity production.
Reducing the carbon footprint of your small business involves taking active measures to cut down greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by your business activities, all of which contribute to your small business’s sustainability.
Learn About How to Source Your Supplies
The first step towards lowering your small business’s carbon footprint is to learn about your supply sources and verify whether they are eco-friendly. Be sure to check whether the materials are from eco-friendly sources, such as sustainable plants and recycled materials. The goal is to find sources with little to no environmental impact. It’s best to ask about the ecological consequences of the activities that occurred during the production of the materials. Such activities include responsible water usage, minimal fossil fuel combustion, proper waste disposal, etc.
Aside from the environmental benefits of investigating supply sources, your small business also has much to gain monetarily from these efforts. Showing how much you care about the materials that go into your products improves your brand’s reputation, attracts investors that prioritize sustainability ethics, and wins new customers.
Use eco-friendly packaging
In the wake of worsening plastic pollution rates globally, using eco-friendly packaging can help reduce plastic accumulation in the environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that containers and packaging contributed to about 82.2 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2018.
Switching to eco-friendly packaging will lower the rate at the landfills are filling up. If we can all reduce the amount of plastic packaging. Making this one of our top small business sustainability suggestions.
Eco-friendly packaging is biodegradable, recyclable, non-toxic, and sustainable materials using clean production techniques. Examples are cellulose packaging, corrugated bubble wrap, mushroom packaging, glassine, corn starch packaging, craft paper, organic fabrics, etc.
Rethink Your Current Transportation Strategy
The transportation industry is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, at 27% of total emissions. Hence, it would be best to rethink your current transportation strategy to find a more sustainable alternative.
If your small business has employees, offer them the option to work from home on specific days. So, fewer employees commute to work, and cars on the road decrease. In turn, that will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from fossil fuel combustion.
You can also reduce your business’s carbon footprint using freight carriers that offer sustainable shipping services.