Build sustainability into your business plan with these seven tips

It’s 2022 and buyers care about sustainability more than ever. In reality, a third of consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainable products. That means sustainability needs to be on every business’s radar, including small businesses.

You don’t have to be Coca-Cola or Procter & Gamble to make sustainability part of your corporate mission. It is effective as long as you do your best, which means adopting small but significant changes in the way you do business.

Durability doesn’t have to be boring or expensive either. Here’s how small businesses can easily integrate sustainability into their existing model.

1. Go remote.

Fifty-eight percent of American workers have the option of working remotely on a full-time or part-time basis. Remote work can be a boon for employee retention, but it also has a significant side effect: it’s green!

You no longer require your employees to drive to work, which can reduce emissions from commuting. Of course, this won’t work for all jobs, but if you can offer remote work to some team members, consider it. Even part-time remote work can reduce carbon emissions, so no effort is too small. And we’re willing to bet your employees will appreciate the change, too.

2. Reduce single-use items.

If you have an office or retail store, it’s a good idea to dispose of single-use items that will end up in landfill. Single-use items may cost a little less initially, but switching to reusable options will help save you money in the long run, so it’s also a win for your wallet.

Consider easy replacements for single-use items such as:

  • Reusable paper towels.
  • Refillable pens.
  • Soap dispensers.
  • DIY cleaners.
  • Beeswax wraps.
  • Metal straws.
  • Ceramic mugs.

3. Buy second-hand when possible.

Sometimes you need to buy new equipment, but if you’re looking for tables, chairs, furniture, and appliances for your storefront, try buying used options first. This helps keep items from ending up in the landfill – plus, second-hand goods are usually cheaper, anyway. It may take a little time, but you can check Craigslist, Groups without buying anything and thrift stores to see what you can buy second-hand locally.

4. Join a recycling program.

Does your city offer a recycling program? Be sure to sign up and encourage employees and customers to participate. Some recycling programs will give you a discount on your waste bill for participating – and, frankly, recycling is the right thing to do. Just make sure you’re not “wishcycling” which can cost recycling centers a lot of time and money.

5. Opt for green packaging.

Most products need to be packaged in some way. If you have the power, try to redesign your product packaging to be more sustainable. That means:

  • Minimize packaging. After all, do your products really need a layer of cling film on every box?
  • Opt for compostable or biodegradable packaging.
  • Minimize the use of non-recyclable materials. Did you know you can’t recycle magnets? Ask your local recycling center for advice on not packaging products with non-recyclable materials.

6. Make your building more sustainable.

Whether you own your building or rent retail space, there is a lot you can do to maximize the effectiveness of your storefront. If you want to be more sustainable (and save money on your utility bills), try these quick tips:

  • Install low-flow toilets.
  • Switch to LED lights.
  • Install a smart thermostat.
  • Tints the windows.
  • Buy Energy Star brand appliances.

7. Hire green vendors.

If you care about sustainability, also try to surround yourself with people who care. This means opting for environmentally friendly suppliers who try to reduce their carbon footprint.

If you can’t afford to go with green vendors, don’t worry. You can reduce your carbon footprint simply by supporting other local small businesses. Buying local reduces the use of fossil fuels and extra packaging that often occurs when buying from the big guys, so buy local to be more sustainable.

Small Business Sustainability: The Smart Choice

Everyone is responsible for taking care of the environment. Your business is never too small to make a difference. In addition, sustainability can help you reduce expenses, so it is also an advantage for profitability! Follow these practices to see benefits not only for the environment, but also for the long-term growth potential of your business.

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