Guide to Going Green: Sustainability Practices for Small Businesses

tiny office on the road

You can have a business and still live the #vanlife dream.

The sustainability movement isn’t new. In fact, the clamor for a greener world has been around for decades now. Recently, a large number of companies are joining the trend. Back then, many shied away from such practices due to the belief that it was harder to quantify their return on investments.

However, with modern advancements and approaches, that is not the case today. Apart from providing current needs without affecting the future generation’s ability to meet theirs, businesses that practice sustainability have also seen a positive impact on their growth. Since more people have become environmentally conscious, companies found that they meet consumer needs for more eco-friendly options.

Moreover, it is easier to attract talent and partnerships with other companies with the same stance. Of course, to truly make a change, even small business owners like you should do their part too. To give you an idea of how to start your green journey, we’ve listed down sustainability practices you can bring to your business.

Using Eco-Friendly Products

The first step to a greener business is to become conscious of the products you use. For instance, look into your suppliers and check on how they produce their materials. Do they comply with environmental laws? Are their employees paid fairly? If not, it’s best to look for other suppliers.

A great alternative is to look into local suppliers. Not only do you support fellow small businesses, but you also cut down on transportation costs. Furthermore, to reduce your businesses’ pollution, you should also switch to eco-friendly packaging. 

Choose biodegradable products made from materials that break down quicker. For example, if you’re using labels, it’s best to use an eco-friendly option. You can check out the compostable labels by Wedderburn. Not only are these labels fairly easy to use, they also lessen the negative impact your business makes when it comes to the environment.

handmade pottery, ceramic, coffee tea cups, natural brown, karin kloosterman

Buy handmade pottery from local craftsmen and women

Going Paperless

The transition to a paperless company requires a lot of planning. Fortunately, technology is there to help you through the process. Instead of keeping paper documents, your business can become more sustainable by trading them with digital receipts and files. 

Scanners will be your biggest friend as you sort through old files to digitize them. Likewise, surveys and contracts need not be printed out with the help of PDF forms. Note-taking can be done through the notes app on your computer or phone during important meetings and business calls. 

If you feel like going completely paperless is impossible, you may control your paper usage instead. Decide on what files can and cannot be printed. Similarly, avoid providing free access to notepads and sticky notes to employees. As an alternative, just designate them with a specific amount of paper for a certain period. 

Making Use of Secondhand Finds

Furnishing your office with secondhand finds saves you not only money but also lessens your impact on the environment. As brand-new desks, chairs, and couches require lots of energy and raw material, why don’t you consider looking for vintage pieces to decorate your space?

vintage furniture lined up, old tv, old tables

Vintage finds will make your office look like a million bucks.

Visit your local thrift store, or keep an eye out for sales and auctions from companies going out of business. If you’re quick enough, it’s highly likely for you to score a quality item at a great price! To save even more, you may also take advantage of factory-refurbished printers and laptops online. 

Doing Partnerships With Green Companies

As a small business owner, collaborating with other companies with the same goals for sustainability will help you become more successful as you pool your resources. Of course, ensure that you partner up with someone who has the same vision as you. 

Align your interests and strategize on what can be mutually beneficial for you. It also helps to be aware of your current carbon footprint. Luckily, every industry has a carbon-neutral vendor you can choose to partner with. So, if you want to commit to becoming a more sustainable business, be wise about the partnerships you make.

Involving Customers and Employees

Lastly, you also have to include your customers and employees in all your initiatives. To start building a greener mindset, you may incentivize eco-friendly habits. Encourage customers to bring reusable cloth bags and reward them with a discount. Instead of giving away printed brochures and pamphlets, you can provide them with an option to send digital copies of your promotional materials to their emails. 

On the other hand, offering employees remote work schedules can significantly reduce your business’s carbon footprint. Hosting virtual meetings can actually contribute to fewer cars on the road and cuts down on fossil fuel usage. This is especially true for employees who travel in their cars alone. 

Takeaway

Sustainability practices not only save the world but also bring profit into your company. With the trend growing every year, it’s high time you switch to more eco-friendly business practices too. While not all strategies perfectly work for everyone, the list above can help you start your journey to prioritizing the planet.

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