In today’s world, it is more important than ever to consider the environmental impact of our businesses. With climate change and resource depletion becoming increasingly pressing issues, it is crucial that we take steps to make our businesses as sustainable as possible.
But where do you start? How can you ensure that your business is not only profitable, but also environmentally responsible?
Whether you are just starting out or you are looking to make changes to an established business, there are steps you can take to reduce your environmental impact. From energy conservation and waste reduction to sustainable sourcing and eco-friendly products, there are a variety of options to consider.
By taking a proactive approach to environmental sustainability, you can not only reduce your impact on the planet, but also improve your business’s public perception and potentially even save money in the long run.
Together we will delve into the benefits of going green as well as examine practical tips and strategies for making your business more environmentally sustainable.
The first thing to consider—outside of the obvious, what’s in it for you?
The Benefits of Going Green
As a business owner, you know that the success of your company depends on a variety of factors, including financial performance, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. But have you considered the impact your business has on the environment?
Going green and implementing environmentally sustainable practices can bring a host of benefits to your business, from cost savings to improved brand reputation.
One of the main benefits of investing in sustainability is the potential for cost savings. By reducing energy and water consumption, recycling and properly disposing of waste, and sourcing sustainable materials, you can cut costs in various areas of your business. For example, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances can save on electricity bills, while recycling and composting can reduce waste management costs.
On the preventative side of things, reducing regulatory risk is another financial advantage of going green. By proactively implementing sustainable practices, you can minimize the risk of fines or penalties for environmental noncompliance.
In addition to cost savings, prioritizing the environment can also improve the reputation of your business. Consumers are increasingly interested in supporting environmentally responsible companies, and demonstrating your commitment to sustainability can differentiate your business from competitors and attract new customers.
Employee engagement is another potential benefit of becoming eco-friendly. Many employees are motivated by a sense of purpose and the opportunity to work for a company that values sustainability. By adopting eco-friendly practices, you can create a positive and meaningful work environment that attracts and retains top talent.
Last but not least, embracing sustainability can help your business stay competitive in the long term. As demand for eco-friendly products and services grows, companies that are able to meet this demand will be well-positioned for success.
To put it briefly, the benefits of going green for a business are numerous and include cost savings, improved brand reputation, increased employee engagement, reduced regulatory risk, and long-term competitiveness. By taking steps to reduce your company’s environmental footprint, you can create a more sustainable future for both your business and the planet.
Which leads us to the important part—how exactly does one go about making their business environmentally sustainable?
Making Your Business Environmentally Sustainable
Without further ado and in no particular order, here are a few of the many ways to approach sustainable business:
1. Sourcing Sustainable Materials and Products
Sourcing sustainable materials and products is a tangible way of making your business more environmentally sustainable. This includes using materials that are recycled as well as supporting suppliers who prioritize sustainability.
By using recycled materials, you can reduce the demand for new raw materials and the associated environmental impacts of their extraction and processing. Biodegradable materials, on the other hand, can break down naturally in the environment, reducing waste and pollution. Supporting suppliers who prioritize sustainability can also help to ensure that the products and materials you use are produced in an environmentally responsible manner.
When sourcing materials and products, it is important to consider the entire lifecycle of the product, from raw materials to disposal, in order to minimize environmental impacts. By making conscious choices about the materials and products you use, you can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of your business.
2. Implementing a Waste Reduction Program
Implementing a waste reduction program is one of the best ways to minimize damage. This can involve recycling, composting, and finding ways to reuse or repurpose materials.
Recycling involves collecting and processing materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal and turning them into new products. Composting involves breaking down organic waste, such as food scraps and yard waste, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Reusing or repurposing materials involves finding new ways to use materials that would otherwise be discarded, such as turning old clothing into rags or using shipping pallets as furniture.
By implementing these waste reduction strategies, you can significantly reduce the amount of waste your business generates and minimize its impact on the environment. It is important to identify which waste reduction strategies are most appropriate for your business and to involve employees in the implementation process to ensure their success.
3. Adopting Sustainable Business Practices
Minimizing damage can also be accomplished by adopting sustainable business practices. This can include things like using recycled paper and ink, using digital communication instead of paper, and using environmentally friendly cleaning products.
Using recycled paper and ink can reduce the demand for new raw materials and the associated environmental impacts of their extraction and processing. Using digital communication instead of paper can also help to reduce paper consumption and the associated environmental impacts. Finally, using environmentally friendly cleaning products can help to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals released into the environment.
Adopting similar sustainable business practices allows you to reduce your business’s environmental footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. It is important to identify which sustainable business practices are most appropriate for your business and to involve employees in the implementation process to ensure their success.
4. Setting Sustainability Goals and Targets
Setting sustainability goals and targets is something many companies have already begun implementing in their journey to becoming eco-friendly. By setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) sustainability goals, businesses can track their progress and make continuous improvements.
For example, a SMART sustainability goal might be to reduce energy consumption by 10% over the next year by implementing energy-efficient lighting and appliances. Now the business has a clear target to work towards and can measure its progress towards achieving it.
Setting sustainability goals and targets can also help to prioritize sustainability initiatives and ensure that resources are allocated effectively. It is also important to involve employees in the goal-setting process to ensure buy-in and to review progress regularly to identify any challenges or opportunities for improvement. In taking these steps, businesses can make significant progress towards becoming more environmentally sustainable.
5. Offsetting Carbon Emissions
Offsetting carbon emissions is a widely-used method for businesses to mitigate the environmental impacts of their operations. By investing in projects that reduce or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, businesses can offset their carbon emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future. This can include projects such as reforestation or renewable energy generation.
Reforestation projects involve planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Renewable energy generation projects, such as solar or wind power, produce electricity without emitting greenhouse gasses. By investing in these types of projects, businesses can offset their carbon emissions and reduce their environmental impact.
In any case, it is important to carefully consider the types of projects that are most appropriate for your business and to ensure that the projects you invest in are credible and effective. Taking on these projects whether directly or through partnering with a non-profit is a definite step in the right direction as well as a great way to start off on the right foot if you aim to be a carbon neutral company.
6. Donating to Environmental Causes
Donating to environmental causes is another way for businesses to make a positive impact on the environment. Businesses can support environmental causes through donations of time, money, or resources.
Time donations involve employees volunteering their time to support environmental initiatives, such as participating in beach cleanups or trail maintenance. Money donations involve contributing financial resources to environmental organizations or causes. Resource donations involve providing resources, such as equipment or supplies, to support environmental initiatives.
By donating to environmental causes, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, make a positive impact on the environment, and support the sustainability efforts of others. Make sure to carefully consider the environmental causes that are most aligned with the values and goals of your business (and if possible involve employees in the decision-making process).
7. Offering Sustainable Products and Services
Offering sustainable products and services is an important way for businesses to make a positive impact on the environment and meet the growing demand for sustainability. By offering sustainable products and services, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
Sustainable products and services are those that have a minimal environmental impact and are produced in an environmentally responsible manner. This can include products made from sustainable materials, such as recycled or biodegradable materials, and services that have a low environmental impact, such as digital communication instead of paper-based communication.
Carefully consider the sustainability impacts of the products and services you offer and continuously review and improve them as necessary. By offering sustainable products and services, businesses can contribute to a more sustainable future and meet the needs of environmentally conscious consumers.
Now that you have seven distinct sustainability avenues, we’ll share what being mindful of these approaches looks like at our company.
Business Sustainability in Practice
At Smart Shipping Supply, we are mindful of our ecological footprint from inception to execution.
We source post-consumer recycled materials which meet GRS 4.0 certifications in order to ensure accurate content claims, good working conditions, and minimal environmental impact. This allows us to offer recyclable poly mailers made of 100% post consumer recycled content.
We are cognizant of the waste we produce and have taken direct measures to limit said waste at every opportunity. Our previous blog post on reducing packaging waste goes into further detail of our waste reduction efforts.
We regularly contribute to credible climate projects that show evidence of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing carbon offset credits that have been certified by Gold Standard or the Verified Carbon Standard. Since our establishment we have strived to maintain carbon neutrality.
As a business that prides itself on operating sustainably, we take our responsibilities towards the environment very seriously and make it our mission to change the world for better and not for worse. What about you?
Until next time, shop smart and ship smart.