Cracking the Cost of Living: Low cost ways to become a sustainable business
With Earth Day only around the corner (22nd April to be exact), now is the best time to find out how your business can play an important part in saving the planet. Although ‘saving the planet’ sounds like a lot of pressure and responsibility to take on, making small tweaks here and there can go a long way!
Whilst becoming a sustainable business helps the planet, it also boosts your reputation, attracts more customers, and can grow your sales. Why, you ask? Because 1 in 3 consumers prefer to buy from businesses that are eco-friendly compared to those that aren’t.
But with the current cost of living crisis and the price of everything skyrocketing, how can your business be more sustainable without breaking the bank? In this guide, we reveal all and show you 7 low-cost ways to become a more sustainable business.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day is an annual celebration of the environmental movement that’s taken place over the past 50 years, but it also does crucial work to raise awareness of the huge threats we still face from climate change.
With the climate crisis still on our doorsteps, there’s still a lot that needs to be done to protect the earth’s natural resources and reduce our carbon footprint. This is where being more sustainable comes in, and where businesses can help!
What does being a sustainable business mean exactly and why is it important?
Being a sustainable business is much more than being good to the environment, it’s about making sure your business is taking responsibility for the impacts it has on society – good or bad!
Despite the cost of living being on the up, consumers are increasingly engaging more with businesses that are sustainable and eco-friendly. In fact, a whopping 66% of consumers worldwide are willing to pay more for sustainable products that align with their personal values!
Being more sustainable won’t only improve your business reputation, but also your sales and profits. This is why you need to incorporate more sustainable practices into your long-term business plans.
7 low cost ways to become a more sustainable business
Watch your waste
While the popularity of e-commerce has created more convenience, flexibility, and sales for businesses, it can’t be denied that the rise of online shopping hasn’t helped the protection of the environment.
It all comes down to wasted packaging. If the packaging isn’t recyclable, it contributes to pollution. By choosing eco-friendly products that are biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable, your business can have a much more positive impact on the environment as a whole.
Choosing more environmentally friendly packaging can also improve your business reputation and sales. This is because consumers are willing to pay for more eco-friendly options – 75% of British customers to be exact!
Using less packaging also minimises cost. The amount of space that bulky products take up in couriers means fewer trips for your products and fewer emissions too!
Encourage your employees to do their bit
Another cost-effective way to become a sustainable business is to engage with your employees.
For example, encourage your team to cycle to work or reward their environmental efforts through incentives. Ask them for their ideas on how to be more sustainable, and build a company culture around environmental awareness.
The more people you have onboard, the more of an impact you’ll have!
Switch to more renewable energy sources
With the cost of living increasing and energy prices at an all-time high, the last thing you might be thinking about is switching your energy supplier. But, did you know that using renewable energy over fossil fuels reduces air pollution and produces no greenhouse gases? If you want to be a sustainable business, this is the way to go.
Renewable energy providers are more accessible than ever – with brands such as SSE, Octopus, and OVO leading the way in this area.
You might also want to consider switching to a ‘green website’ as a way to reduce your energy usage. Websites are very energy-intensive and the average website produces approximately 4,500lbs of CO2 every year – now that’s a lot! Green website providers such as GreenGeeks and DreamHost, make sure that every unit of energy that is generated on your website is put back into the economy as a renewable investment – contributing to a more sustainable planet.
You can also check out talented website developers on PeoplePerHour who may be able to help create a green website too.
By switching to local suppliers, you’ll be doing the world of good – not only to the environment (cutting down on emissions via shipping) but also to the cost of your overheads. You’ll be able to have more control over your supply chain and can develop stronger relationships with your suppliers – meaning more potential to negotiate at a lower price for what you purchase. You’ll also be helping to keep money in the local community and supporting small businesses and jobs along the way!
Customers like to know who they are buying from and by supporting local businesses, it will give you an all-around competitive advantage over larger businesses who source their supplies from far away.
Try your best to use as little paper as possible. Paper comes from trees, right? This means the more paper you use, the more trees will be cut down.
The most environmentally friendly and sustainable way to cut back is by going ‘paperless’ or switching out your normal paper for recycled ones. Making these small changes is going to decrease your waste and also help the environment – win-win!
Government help and incentives
As the UK has a target to be net zero (putting no more carbon into the atmosphere) by 2050, there are a variety of funding opportunities available to businesses across the UK that will help them become more sustainable.
For more information and advice, you can find more information here.
If you’re already promoting sustainable business practices, think about how you can back this up.
Consumers are becoming more switched on about how environmentally friendly businesses are, which means they will be looking for certain certifications and proof of this.
‘B Corp’ is the most common one and is awarded to businesses that meet the requirements of social and environmental standards in their practice. This certification is very useful when it comes to building your credibility, but also by showing your long-term commitment as a sustainable business too.
The certification process varies depending on your company’s size, however, it’s free to register and to complete a B impact assessment (BIA) – a cost-effective way to become a more sustainable business.
And there you have it. Switching to more renewable energy sources, shopping locally, and getting your team on board are just some of the low-cost ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and become a more sustainable business. By introducing some of these ideas into your everyday business practices you’ll make a difference to the environment in the long term.