Even small businesses can have a big environmental impact – for better or worse. Prioritise the planet and your customers are likely to take notice. Failing to do so could significantly impact your bottom line.
With a mounting climate crisis on our hands, consumers are rethinking how and where they make purchases. Values like sustainability are now driving many purchasing decisions and buying habits.
Green Biz reports that in a survey by shipping service Sendle, “57% of responders said climate change had somewhat or fully caused them to reassess their purchasing habits, and nearly 71% said they had set goals to purchase more sustainable products in 2020.”
Do you operate with minimal environmental impact – or want to? It’s a huge selling point. Here are five ways your SMB can go green.
1) Invest in Green Products and Supplies.
The items you use to get the job done can take or give back to the planet. If you’re looking for an easy place to make an immediate impact, start with the things you use every day.
For most small businesses that include opting for green items like:
- Recycled paper and reusable printer toner
- Rechargeable batteries
- Green product packaging
- All-natural cleaning supplies
- Reusable water bottles
2) Focus on Energy Conservation.
“On average, small and midsize businesses…(those with facilities that are smaller than 100,000 square feet) use 15 kilowatt-hours (or kWh for short) of electricity annually. The majority of energy usage comes from lighting, heating, and cooling,” according to SF Gate.
Though it may not sound like much, that usage adds up quickly. To reduce your energy consumption, try:
- Switching to LED bulbs and putting your lights on a timer or motion sensor.
- Encouraging employees to put devices to ‘sleep’ when not in use.
- Investing in more energy-efficient electronics.
- Adjusting your thermostat – the Department of Energy and Environment recommends keeping the office at 25 degrees in summer when the workplace is occupied, and 29 degrees or off after business hours. In the winter, make that 20 degrees during work hours, and 15-18 degrees after everyone clocks out.
3) Go green in the Break Room.
The office kitchen is likely to be one of the most wasteful areas in your entire organisation.
You can invite more sustainability into the space by:
- Asking employees to bring reusable utensils.
- Doing away with single-use coffee pods and water bottles.
- Purchasing biodegradable napkins and straws.
- Buying organic, locally sourced snacks.
- Researching fair trade coffee and tea options.
- Offering compost and recycling on-site.
4) Check the Sustainability of Your Vendors and Partners.
Don’t let an overconsuming collaborator offset your progress.
- Inquire about their environmental policies up front.
- Check the ingredients they use in their packaging.
- See where they source raw materials from.
- Ask about their sustainability goals.
- Make sure the goods they sell are easily repairable.
- Prioritise local partnerships.
5) Let Employees Work Remotely.
As Forbes explains, “ Research from Spain’s Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals suggests [WFH] had a significant impact on air quality…working from home four days a week would reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide by around 10%.” The article also notes that nitrogen dioxide is the main pollutant generated by traffic emissions.
In addition to decreasing your employees’ commutes, letting staff work remotely also saves you on things like utilities and office supplies.
Committed to making this 2024 your most green yet? Make sure you’re clear on the size of your carbon footprint. From there, you can create a roadmap to help you strategically shrink it, while growing your customer base.