Do you have a green business? Is being green part of your brand vision, or have you yet to consider its importance?
Reducing energy consumption, greening your supply chain and improving your company’s commitment to sustainability saves you money and can also aid employee morale and give you a competitive advantage. Running a green business should be something we all strive for. The planet’s resources are declining rapidly, and we all have a role in protecting what is left for future generations.
In 2015, Nielsen surveyed 30,000 consumers worldwide, and 66 per cent of those consumers agreed they would pay more for products from sustainable sources. The same survey also showed that this number jumped to 77 per cent among millennial consumers.
Employees will also feel happier and more motivated if they believe you care about the environment and their health and well-being. Including your staff in green initiatives builds a sense of community, as well as boosting morale and creating a better working environment. Serve healthy, nutritious food and snacks. This not only promotes good health but can also boost productivity. Have a garden where employees can sit and get fresh air. Encourage wildlife.
The rise in veganism, the growing demand to reduce single-use plastic and support for Extinction Rebellion, are all signs of how consumers are changing. To survive and flourish, all businesses need to recognise the importance of their contribution to society and the environment. Whilst legislation will require businesses to take some steps, savvy business owners will want to get ahead of the curve.
Enhance your reputation
If you are one of the more enlightened businesses that are already embracing corporate social responsibility, and you have a raft of measures in place to reduce your carbon footprint and that of your consumers, are you shouting about it?
Whilst your bottom line is benefiting from your eco-friendly initiatives, do not underestimate the boost to your company’s reputation that can be achieved by telling your green stories to your potential customers, potential employees, and the local economy.
Could you promote your initiatives in the local and regional media and in your trade press? You might even have a national story to tell. Investors, local politicians, suppliers, potential business partners, future employees, customers, and future customers will all be attracted to a company that is taking steps to reduce its impact on the environment, increase its use of renewables and finding new ways to become more sustainable.
How green is your business?
Whether you are a sole trader working out of your back bedroom, or a multinational operation with thousands of employees, we can all take steps to improve our businesses’ impact on the environment. I am passionate about protecting the environment, and there is nothing I enjoy more than helping organisations to promote their green credentials.
Innovation will be vital if we are to deal successfully with climate change and its associated impacts on our planet and local communities. As a writer and communicator, I am excited to play my part in shining a light on good environmental practices, emerging technologies and new products and services that make it easier for all of us to reduce our carbon footprint and live more sustainably.
As well as writing about sustainability and corporate social responsibility, I am also keen to do my bit for the environment as a small business. Here is a list of things that most of us could implement in our businesses as a bare minimum.
- Before you contract with a supplier check out their environmental credentials
- Don’t just buy on price; make sure your suppliers are doing all they can to reduce waste, energy and water consumption
- Do they conform to any of the recognised industry standards?
- Use video conferencing. Try using Zoom for meetings instead of driving everywhere
- If you have a fleet, opt for a hybrid or electric vehicles
- Offer a bike-to-work scheme
- Provide showers, lockers and bike racks to encourage employees to commute by bicycle
- Encourage employees to travel by train instead of driving long distances
- Swap to LED light bulbs which use less energy and last up to five years
- Fit sensors so that lights only come on when someone is in a room
- Use smart meters
- Make it easier for people to recycle by providing enough bins, conveniently located
- Consider removing general waste bins
- Offer composting
- Use glasses and jugs of tap water rather than offering bottled water
- Encourage employees to refill water bottles
- Serve coffee and hot beverages in china rather than plastic cups
- Incentivise employees to utilise reusable coffee cups
- Remove disposable cutlery
- Serve locally sourced food
- Offer seasonal fruit and vegetables to cut down on air miles
- Buy recycled paper
- Source everyday office supplies such as rulers, wallets, pens and pencils that are made from recycled materials or ones that can be composted after use.
There are some brilliant items on the market made from recycled materials. I have seen fleeces made from plastic bags, pens made from coffee cups, and Christmas cards you can plant once you have finished with them.
This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. If you are serious about reducing your company’s environmental impact, there are plenty of sources of help and advice available.
How green is your business? Are you doing enough or could you do better?
Do you have a great story to tell? Don’t forget to share your best practice so others can learn from your example. Celebrate your successes on a regular basis. Your employees and your customers will thank you for it.
Sources of help and advice
- Your local authority
- The Carbon Trust
- Waste & Resources Action Programme
- The Environment Agency
- Federation of Small Business