Waste is at an all-time high, our oceans are full of plastic and the air we breathe is dirty. Consumers are concerned about their ecological footprint and how their actions effect the environment. They increasingly want to buy from brands that share these values and are willing to do their homework and find out which brands adhere to their green principles.
This has led to a change in the way some companies operate, and we are seeing a growth in sustainable business practices. All businesses should strive to be as sustainable as possible. It’s a great brand message to promote and also helps to save the planet! Even if you can't go fully 'green', you can take many small steps to improve your eco-friendly credentials.
What is a Sustainable Business?Sustainable business is also known as ‘green business’. It should have a minimal negative impact on the environment, community, society or economy.
To be considered sustainable/green a business should aim to achieve the following:
1. Incorporate principles of sustainability into all of its business decisions
2. Supply environmentally-friendly products or services to replace demand for non-green products and/or services.
3. Be greener than traditional business competition and other competitors.
4. Make a commitment to environmental principles in its operations.
Three Ways To Improve Sustainability in Your Business
The main way to start becoming more sustainable is to remember the adage ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’. If we all start making better use of the resources we
have, waste levels and landfill will decrease and lots of energy will be saved.
1. Reduce & Recycle Waste
Think about how to cut waste in your office and business practices. This applies to the production of your product as well as the day to day running of your office.
- If possible, go paperless. This is much easier to achieve in our digital age. If you can’t go completely paperless, try to use recycled paper and make sure all paper waste goes into the recycling bin.
- Try to use less office supplies and source items such as refillable pens and recycled products to reduce waste.
- Explore ways to decrease use of energy and raw materials in your production process.
- Promote recycling & environmental initiative to employees – let them know you aim to cut waste and get them involved.
- Conduct a waste review/audit to see where you can improve in these areas
2. Check your Supply Chain If your business is aiming to be more sustainable, don’t forget to check not only your own business practices, but also those of any businesses in your supply chain. Ideally, a green business should not be associated with a company that has no concern for the environment.
When you audit your own business it’s also prudent to audit your suppliers. If their standards aren’t up to scratch, talk to them about how they can improve them. If they can't meet your standards, move to a new supplier that does match your ethics.
Ask them about their sustainability policies. What are they and do they adhere to them? Do they pay their staff fairly and have ethical employment practices? (No child labour, good working conditions etc).
Be informed about your suppliers & partners before you promote yourself as a sustainable business. Otherwise, your brand could suffer if it’s not as green as your brand message suggests.
3. Support an Eco-Charity and Use Eco-Friendly PromotionsThink about teaming up with an environmental, green, sustainable charity. This is the perfect way to help the environment and let people know that your brand cares about it. Run events and projects and/or donate a percentage of your profits to help raise funds for your chosen charity. Let your customers know that you fully support the cause - it will give your brands green credentials a huge boost and create a positive brand message.
Also consider the items you use to promote your business. Make sure your promotional items are made from recycled materials and can be reused and recycled. Many items such as keyrings, calendars, disposable pens and leaflets are often thrown away and end up in landfill.
Another way to prevent promotional items being thrown away is to select something that is actually useful to customers and they will want to reuse. A product like a branded bag for life is made from recycled materials , can be reused many times then recycled again when no longer needed. But if designed well, nobody will want to throw it away! They will reuse it for day-to-day activities such as shopping, carrying gym/sports gear and days out with the added bonus of minimal environmental impact.
A branded bag is also the ideal promotional product to spread the word about your charity collaboration. Use it to encourage people to use less single use plastic or to let them know how they can support the charity. Find out more about using bags in the charity sector.
These are just 3 ways to can improve your brands sustainability. There are many other ways - check out the following articles for more ideas: