Every dollar and hour matters to a small business so you want to be thoughtful with your commitments; It will much more effective to focus on supporting a few initiatives that really matter to you, your staff, or your customers. Try these practical ideas, both big and small, to make your business sustainable.
Reduce energy use
- Use electricity meters to find which equipment uses the most energy. See if you can use those appliances more efficiently, or switch to energy-efficient alternatives.
- Ask your energy providers if they offer renewable forms such as solar or wind.
- Investing in solar panels or energy-efficient lighting. It might be more cost-effective than you think.
- Improve water conservation. Recent, sustained droughts have made clear, water conservation is just as important. Low-flow toilets and faucets, as well as waterless urinals, can drastically cut your water consumption.
- Instead of stocking the fridge with plastic water bottles, use a water filter system so employees can fill their own.
- Go paperless. Running your business digitally reduces waste and costs associated with paper, printers, copiers, ink cartridges, and filing cabinets.
Reuse everything possible
- Try not to buy everything new – reuse stationery, binders, and folders when they’re available.
- Print smarter. Use recycled paper and ink cartridges where possible, only print when necessary, avoid color printouts, print documents two-sided, and reuse unwanted paper.
Recycle whatever you can
- Provide bins for returnable bottles, non-returnable bottles, aluminum cans, paper, and food scraps. Have clear signage for separate bins and make them easily accessible.
- Contact your local e-scrap recycler to get a bin for your workplace and put old hardware there instead of in a landfill. Allow your staff to bring their e-waste in from home.
Buy supplies mindfully
- Provide real kitchenware rather than disposable cups, plates, knives, and forks.
- Use green office cleaning products – replace cleaners, dish, and hand soaps. The benefits include improved health, a reduction in allergic reactions, and a healthier planet. Check out grove.co.
Encourage your staff
- Gift reusables – give your staff easy access to reusable coffee cups, water bottles, and recyclable/reusable tote shopping bags.
- Reduce commuting by car – encourage your staff to ride, walk, or take public transport to work, or work from home where appropriate.
- Reward employees for coming up with sustainable ideas or for volunteering for an environmental cause.
- Ask you employees for sustainable ideas. To make it engaging, create a challenge and offer a small reward for employees whose ideas are implemented.
Support environmental causes
- Community-driven programs are good for your image and public reputation, and it feels good to support something that makes a difference.
- Adopt a green cause and do an annual fundraising event or volunteering day. There are all sorts of conservation campaigns you can take part in; find one that’s close to your heart and involve your staff and customers.
Spread the word and educate
- Celebrate and promote what you are doing externally through your website, newsletters, and social media.
- Partner with other local businesses to share sustainability ideas and solutions.
Choose eco-friendly vendors and partners
- Choose vendors who are committed to the environment.
- Read labels and check out alternatives for items that are resource-intensive or polluting.
- Ask your vendors to develop sustainable solutions
Deliver on-demand for sustainable
- Designing and producing high-quality packaging is essential to standing out on store shelves. But sustainability matters too. According to McKinsey, 55% of consumers are concerned with the environmental impact of product packaging.
- Provide paper, ink, carbon offsetting, and other sustainable options and recommend these to your clients.
Lastly put the word out
- Being sustainable is a selling point, so don’t be shy about advertising your efforts. Are you using recycled paper? Label your print projects with the recycled symbol.
- Are you outfitting your building with solar panels? Show them off on your website.