Sustainability for SMEs
Posted on 4th March 2022 at 13:02
Sustainability is often seen as an ‘on-trend’ luxury investment for large corporates, and one that has limited impact or interest for SMEs. However, the view on this is shifting rapidly.
So why should small business owners take an interest in running a sustainable business?
Sustainability is now not just the ideal in business, it’s becoming standard practice, and a must for businesses who want to engage positively with their clients, customers, employees, investors and job applicants. Recent research has shown customers are actively choosing to engage more with businesses who see sustainability as a priority (2019 Edelman Global Brand Report) .
There’s no doubt that having a sustainability strategy improves your overall branding and potentially impacts your ability to recruit and retain the best people, as well as hopefully generating more clients and customers for the business.
There is good evidence that over time, having a sustainable approach lowers your costs and thus, impacts on your profit margins in the medium to long term.
And it goes without saying – it’s good for the environment!
So if you’re convinced, but have no idea where to start, here are some ideas.
Where to start:
Have Sustainability as part of your Business Strategy
Having a sustainable mindset needs to align with your business strategy, or employees will not see it as a priority.
We recommend having a simple plan, with some manageable practical goals and a few ways to track your progress. Think about how to engage your employees, managers, and investors, and how you can incorporate sustainability into your business values and culture.
It’s often hard to know where to start with going greener. Here’s a few suggestions for some small sustainable wins! Choose a couple to get started:
Give employees easy access to reusable water bottles, shopping bags and containers for lunches to reduce plastic waste
Change to greener alternatives, such as products with higher percentages of recycled material e.g. pens, toilet paper
Think about your energy supply – talk to your energy company about renewable options such as solar and wind
Check your suppliers – do they prioritise sustainability in how they work? How far do they comply to regulations around reducing waste and pollution?
Go paperless – do as much as possible digitally. If printing is essential, think about using recycled printer cartridges and paper
Partner with other small businesses towards a sustainable goal
Support local green initiatives in your community – this can improve your visibility and branding as a business.
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