Incorporating sustainable practices into your business isn’t just an optional extra anymore. Customers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their choices and are demanding more from the businesses they support. Sustainable living advocate Jess Silver provides practical tips to ensure sustainability measures are effective as well as sustainable for business owners and businesses.
While some sustainable practices can indeed require significant investments of time and capital, there are many simple and practical ways businesses can improve their green credentials with ease.
Sustainability in business offers many opportunities—reduced costs, enhanced brand credibility and a contribution to environmental conservation are just some of the possible benefits.
But trying to figure out what ‘being a sustainable business’ looks like in practice isn’t always clear. It may seem a daunting prospect to consider the time and money required, let alone knowing where to begin!
6 simple ways to be more sustainable in your business
The good news is, the overwhelm can be replaced with a few simple steps that are easy to follow. In my work in helping families live more sustainably, I encourage people to keep it simple and focus on progress rather than perfection. The same principles apply in business.
Here’s six simple steps to help incorporate sustainable practices into your business.
1. Start with awareness
Before you even think about jumping into any changes, start looking at your business through a new lens. Look for opportunities to incorporate sustainable practices into every aspect of your business.
Are there efficiencies to be gained through your processes? Is there technology available that could reduce the environmental impact of your business? Are resources being wasted? From double-sided printing in administration to product or packaging redesign, to possible savings in water or electricity use, are there ways to ensure the number of resources being used in day-to-day processes is minimised?
Even if you don’t yet know if solutions are available, it is helpful to keep a list of all ideas and suggestions so that they can be reviewed and worked through over time.
2. Focus on progress rather than perfection
To avoid overwhelm from trying to do too much or because it seems too hard, too expensive, or too time consuming, remember to focus on progress rather than perfection. Even small changes add up and can yield big results over time.
3. Look for the low hanging fruit
There are inevitably easy options waiting for you that require little time or capital to get started. These are the things we can do easily and can include:
- Swapping from single use products to reusable or refillable options
- Swapping to a product or supplier that has a lower environmental impact
- Switching to energy or water efficient lightbulbs and tap fittings
Stepping up your recycling game—many office supplies are recyclable and help keep useful resources out of landfill, such as e-waste, pens and markers, batteries, and printer cartridges, to name a few.
4. Balance FOMO with the fear of change
Embracing sustainability in your business may initially evoke a sense of dread. Either through fear of the changes required or through a fear of missing out on the benefits of sustainability.
Remember that sustainability is not an all-or-nothing endeavour. Start with small, manageable steps that align with your business’ capabilities and resources. By gradually incorporating sustainable practices, you can minimise risk and build confidence in the positive impact these changes can have on your business and the environment.
5. Investigate, collaborate, and innovate
Discussions with suppliers, employees, and customers can unearth a goldmine of ideas and opportunities within supply chains and, most importantly, let you know exactly what your customers want.
Exploring what is available in your area is also worthwhile, with many councils supporting households and businesses alike in their endeavours to be more sustainable. Possible available options include consultations to review practices for improved outcomes, waste reduction, and recycling options, and financial assistance.
6. Use your size to your advantage
Finally, use your smaller size to your advantage. An advantage of small and micro-businesses is that you can adapt incredibly fast compared to how long it takes to effect change in large businesses. Experiment with new ideas and see what works for your business.
Incorporating sustainable practices into your business is not only essential for meeting customer expectations, but also for creating a positive impact on the environment. By using the steps mentioned above, you can take significant steps towards becoming a more sustainable business.
Remember, sustainability is a journey, and every small action matters. Embrace sustainability as a core value and watch your business thrive while contributing to a greener future.
This article was originally published on flyingsolo.com.au and has been edited for brevity and republished here with permission.