A Guide to Sustainable Business Practices for Small Businesses – Amy Collett

Sustainability is increasingly a priority for companies. Along with the positive eco-impact that green business practices can provide, the right choices can boost your business. You may be a more attractive option to eco-conscious customers and experience some traditional cost savings.


If you’re a small business interested in reducing its carbon footprint and boosting sustainability to benefit local ecosystems and experience other gains, here’s a quick guide from the Climate Change, Justice and Human Rights blog that can help.


Finding Sustainable Possibilities


In many ways, going green sounds incredibly challenging. It’s hard to envision how changes to your small business can have an impact. However, even minor adjustments make a difference. As a result, many companies have far more sustainable possibilities available than they’d expect.


There are plenty of simple ways to make your company more sustainable, including:


  • Switching to LED light bulbs
  • Using green cleaning supplies
  • Going with rechargeable batteries
  • Buying recycled paper
  • Recycling as much as possible
  • Changing to refillable ink cartridges or using a tank system
  • Using sleep mode on computers
  • Turning electronics off at the end of the day
  • Switching to cloud services over internal servers
  • Letting employees telecommute


Along with helping the environment, many eco-friendly choices save your company money. For example, LED bulbs are cheaper to run. Allowing employers to work from home can reduce electricity costs and may let you use a smaller workplace, saving on rent. Changing to cloud services can eliminate costly equipment and result in a smaller power bill.


Plus, sustainable practices could make your company more attractive to eco-conscious customers, leading to higher sales. While it’s true that some customers might not care, others will, and that could lead to a net gain.


Simply look at your operations to see if there is a greener choice available. If so, weigh the cost against the possible positive impact. While there are risks involved – including reduced profitability if the updates are high-cost, loss of process viability if you need to make a significant change, or a below-expectation sales impact – the benefits could outweigh those risks.


Marketing the Benefits of Your Shift Toward Sustainability


After implementing the changes, you’ll want to advertise your shift to greener practices and highlight the benefit to the ecosystem. That way, customers that prefer sustainable companies know that you’re being eco-friendly, increasing the odds that they’ll buy from you.


Consider getting a fresh logo to make a strong first impression and boost brand awareness as a starting point. If you’re worried about cost, you can create a logo using a free online logo maker instead of a design service. You’ll just need to choose a style and icon, add a bit of text, review the assortment of options, and customize your favorite.


Using social media as part of your marketing is also intelligent. If you want to run an effective campaign, partnering with an influencer marketing agency is often worthwhile. Just head to online job platforms and check their experience, reviews, and cost. That way, you can hire the best agency for your needs.


Launching Your Sustainable Business


While the idea of launching a sustainable business could be intimidating, it isn’t as challenging as it seems. Plus, you can adjust your practices over time, allowing you to methodically introduce green practices at times that feel right for you. So why not take the leap?


If you’re ready to get your company off of the ground, consider forming an LLC. You’ll reduce your liability, have less paperwork, and get plenty of flexibility. Plus, there may be some tax advantages, and you can avoid massive attorney fees by filing yourself or using ZenBusiness, a well-reviewed formation service. Since state rules can vary, check laws in your area before you begin.

Two modern and growing approaches to acting in the most sustainable and ethical manners are Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Social and Corporate Governance (CSR & ESG respectfully). CSR is best viewed as the voluntary measures which can be taken by a corporation on a variety of areas. CSR can incorporate supply chain auditing for human rights and labour law compliance, green certification schemes, and a vast array of other ethical business practices. ESG is more like an overall sort of credit score for a business’s operations, and is tied to long-term investment goals and capabilities. With CSR and ESG, these are both fields that are seeing an intense period of growth and often incorporate the use of experts who consult on best practices and analyse the overall performance of a business. A good example would be the Enough Project’s report on conflict minerals in consumer goods.


Image via Pexels

Guest Article by Amy Collett

Amy can be reached at http://bizwell.org


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