Green issues and sustainability have perhaps never been more important to consumers as they are now. Which of course means that it’s important for your business to demonstrate its green credentials in order to gain the respect, trust and commerce of today’s more environmentally aware customers.
By extension, green concerns are also now more important to other businesses and you will perhaps equally need to demonstrate your sustainability to clients, partners or other businesses that you work with.
Here are a few simple steps that small businesses can take in order to reduce their emissions, engage a new generation of eco-conscious customers and boost their green standing among fellow businesses.
Review your supply chain
One of the most important steps to reducing the carbon footprint of your business is reviewing the sustainability of the businesses you engage with.
Look at all the businesses you work with and those within your supply chain, whether they are suppliers, distributors or clients. Assess their sustainability in terms of their values, practices and goals for how they might be aiming to improve.
If their green values are similar to yours, then great! If not, and perhaps more importantly, if they don’t show any inclination to change, then it may be time to look elsewhere.
An added benefit of improving the green credentials within your supply chain is that it provides an instant, easy and powerful source of marketing material to demonstrate to customers and clients your business’ sustainability and the steps you have taken and are taking to improve.
Change your workplace culture
Changing a few things around the office or shop is a quick and simple way to boost your green credentials. Introducing recycling bins, food composting in the employee kitchen and reducing single-use plastics are all very easy ways to make your workplace culture more eco-friendly.
Steps like this can also help with wider efforts to engage employees in the company’s green culture and educate them on how to improve sustainability around the workplace. From there you can begin encouraging small steps that might make a big difference, such as not wasting water and not leaving lights or other electronics on where they don’t need to be. With employees in this kind of mindset, you may find that they begin coming to you with ideas on how to improve further.
There are of course, many things that you can do as the business owner to further encourage this. Having a policy of ensuring all lights and non-vital power sources are shut off at the end of each day will help to get others into the mindset of cutting down on electricity, while staying on top of things such as maintenance (leaky taps, faulty plug sockets) can also improve your green practices.
Again, the introduction and implementation of these steps is a ready source of great marketing material to share on your website and social media channels to demonstrate your sustainability.
Shake up the commute
We all know that a massive part of any company’s emissions is the twice daily commute that employees make to and from the workplace. The easiest way to solve this, if it is at all possible for your business, is to allow and encourage home-working.
Home-working is becoming increasingly common as a result of COVID-19 and looks set to stay even once the pandemic is over. It has been shown to be beneficial to employee wellbeing and productivity and can ultimately help you to save costs by cutting down on your office space. Most importantly from a green point of view though, it pretty much entirely eliminates your business’ commuting footprint as well as significantly cutting office emissions.
Of course, working from home is only feasible for certain types of businesses. But just because you and your employees have to commute to the workplace, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to improve your sustainability in this regard.
The best option here is to encourage employees to either walk or cycle into work (both things with zero carbon footprint). If this is possible, it’s something that you can easily encourage by doing yourself. Again, though, walking or cycling will not be possible for all businesses or employees.
In that situation, encouraging employees to take public transport rather than driving in is the best way to improve the footprint of your company’s commuting. If possible, you could even introduce a scheme subsidising rail or bus travel costs for your employees to help ease any financial doubts they may have.
Becoming a green business is never something that happens overnight. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a difficult process that you should dread undertaking. As we’ve outlined here, just a few small, simple steps can help you quickly improve (and show off!) your green credentials.
With those kinds of small steps in place, you then have a platform from which to become even more sustainable, perhaps in ways that are innovative and unique.