How small businesses can prioritise the planet this year
It’s no secret that environmental impact is an increasingly important factor for eco-conscious customers. In fact, a company’s green credentials can be the deciding factor in whether customers purchase your company’s product, recommend you to a friend, and become loyal to your brand.
No matter the size, every business should consider the impact their practices and processes have on the planet’s long-term health. For that reason – particularly at the start of a new year – businesses should resolve to take stock of the suppliers they work with, the packaging they use, and their practices in line with climate change information and changing consumer sentiment.
To help your company along this journey, we’ve compiled five top eco-friendly new year’s resolutions for making more sustainable business decisions this year.
- Switch to sustainable packaging
Product packaging is a huge aspect of operations for businesses that import and export. The new year is the perfect time to review the type and amount of protective casing your items are transported in and assess whether they can be reduced or replaced with something more sustainable.
For businesses that manage eCommerce shipping, consider replacing plastic mail bags with compostable postage alternatives for small orders. When handling larger dispatches, try to reuse the manufacturer’s cardboard boxes that products arrive in. While this may not allow for a dramatic and on-brand unboxing experience for customers, it demonstrates your commitment to reducing unnecessary waste throughout the customer journey and using only what is necessary.
- Reduce consumption
The best way to minimise the amount of waste your business sends to landfills is to reduce reliance on single-use products. The age-old mantra of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ applies here, and it may mean thinking outside the box or pivoting in your current processes.
Consider providing office employees with keep cups for their daily cafe order. Retailers could offer customers paper bags or reusable bags to carry their purchases, and bars may choose to take a cold-turkey approach to plastic straws. Restaurants wanting to decrease their reliance on disposable takeaway containers could give a discount when customers bring their own food containers to be filled.
- Kick-start a compost
Initiating a workplace composting solution to manage green waste is a great way to divert organic items from landfills.
There are a variety of in-vessel or open-air composting solutions available that will help your business toward greener practices while also lowering your waste collection costs over time. Depending on your business size and type, there are various viable options to suit your needs.
- Optimise your supply chain
Your business’ overall sustainability is linked to the companies in your supply chain. Outdated packaging guidelines and procedures can often lead to unnecessary plastic and filler included in shipments. These types of deliveries arriving from your manufacturers impact your company’s carbon footprint.
So, as part of your sustainability resolution, optimise your supply chain this year by choosing to do business with other companies with eco-missions that align with your own. Try to work together with your current suppliers on reduction plans that can be mutually beneficial. You could agree to use more sustainable packaging materials, adjust the boxes’ size for each shipment, and use incoming packaging for outgoing shipments. These changes will reduce your company wastage and have big environmental payoffs.
- Find energy efficiencies
Reduce the carbon footprint of your office or warehouse by improving the way your business consumes energy. Using energy sustainably may mean replacing lightbulbs with LED alternatives, installing timers and sensors on the lights in meeting rooms and communal areas, setting the air-conditioning at an optimum temperature and taking advantage of natural light. You could also consider switching to a renewable energy source, like solar power.
Not only will these efforts help to shrink the amount you’ll pay on your energy bill, but they’ll also show you’re making a conscious effort to minimise strain on the environment.
Start this year with a robust set of new year’s resolutions and take ownership of your company’s carbon footprint. By concentrating on these five areas of control, you’ll positively impact the planet, keep your business in good community standing, and kick off 2022 with refreshed eco-friendly practices.