Incorporating sustainability in your small business is the best first step to reducing waste from your and your consumer’s end. With the increasing awareness amongst the audience regarding the current status of the planet, even they prefer sustainable businesses and leave minimum or zero waste trail. This practice makes businesses opt for more sustainable approaches and contribute to the betterment of the planet.
When it comes to small businesses, the owners need to be more transparent about the practices to increase their consumer base and maintain client retention rates. Here are various ways to make your small business sustainable with fair and healthy practices. Read ahead to find out!
Understand The Three Pillars of Sustainability
Before you begin on the path of sustainability, you need to understand the three pillars of sustainability– social, environmental, and economic. In layperson’s terms, every business should maintain the balance between these three pillars. Order of importance includes conservation of the planet, focus on economic development, and maintaining social sustainability.
Social sustainability includes:
- Healthy work-life balance
- Supporting gender equality and equal pay
- Adhering to employees’ encouragement and training for personal and professional growth
Whereas economic development includes adopting healthy production practices and saving energy by adhering to ISO 50001 Standards.
Now comes the most important part, the conservation of the planet, which is the need of the hour. Unfortunately, maximum businesses indulge in practices that harm the environment. Stringent action is being taken to reduce the said activities. To build small business sustainability, you need to adopt all the practices that will contribute is zero waste.
1. Source Recyclable or Biodegradable Materials
The first step to making small businesses sustainable is investing in biodegradable materials. While buying a product, ask whether it is sourced sustainability, whether you can recycle it, or renew it. If the answer is yes, then you can invest in it, but in case you cannot recycle or renew it, then refrain from investing in the materials as they will end up as waste in a landfill. Many businesses are now actively opting for biodegradable products as various alternatives are available in the market.
2. Practice Recycling and Reusing
The key is to reduce waste, keep them out of landfills, and leave a zero-carbon footprint. To ensure this, indulge in reusing and recycling products. For example, every business offers coffee and water to employees and has paper cups. When it comes to sustainability, you can opt for ceramic or borosil glasses, which can be washed and used again. When it comes to recycling, various cities provide the facility to make the process less tedious. So, you can save money on it as well.
3. Adopt Sustainable Packaging Practices
If you ship products across cities, the packaging is an essential part. Unfortunately, products often get damaged, so companies wrap them under several layers of plastic, put bubble wrap inside the box, and use tons of tape to seal it. When it reaches the consumer, they remove the packaging, throw it in the dustbin, and it ends up in the landfill again! Now, this keeps collecting, and they can’t even get recycled.
Using cardboard or paper material for packaging is a much better alternative. As per the reports, consumers prefer businesses that send products in a paper wrap as it can be reused and recycled. However, various small businesses are picking up packaging materials made of compost resulting in zero waste.
4. Indulge In Business with Other Eco-Friendly Businesses
Suppose you are trying to indulge in small business sustainability but doing partnerships with companies that put zero effort into contributing to the same cause. In that case, your efforts will go down in vain. Your entire supply chain, the companies you source products from, or the companies you support, should be green and sustainable too to create any impact.
5. Build A Team of People Who Embody the Same Value as Yours
To stay firm on your cause towards small business sustainability, you need to surround yourself with people believing in the same cause. Look out for talents who believe in global warming or those who know how small or big-scale businesses impact the ecosystem. Read their resume carefully, ask questions regarding the same during interviews, and ask their views on how small businesses can leave small carbon footprints. These talents may introduce you to new productive ways, help in better implementation across an organisation, and contribute to more economic growth.
6. Slow Down on Paperwork
Getting everything documented is good, but this also means leaving a big paper trail. According to a report, offices in the US use 12.1 trillion paper sheets every year, which means chopping down a lot of trees.
Instead, prefer digital options to work with when it comes to documentation, sending e-bills, emails, and such. However, if you need to use paper, you can opt for recycled paper from a local business.
Key Tips on How to Encourage Small Business Sustainability
Apart from the above-mentioned pointers, here are the key tips that will help you in practicing small business sustainability-
- Try to offer your employees more work from home, as it will lessen your company’s carbon footprint
- Remove all plastic products from your office and replace them with more sustainable products
- Buy products from a local business that are eco-friendly
- Take accountability and work on improving it
- Keep on your thinking hat and innovate
Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Business with Schneider Electric
Almost all businesses around the globe are adopting sustainable practices and making them a core of their business. At Schneider Electric, we encourage small business sustainability through our initiative- Green Yodha. Experts here help businesses become conscious and contribute significantly towards improving society and the planet.