April has been a month focused on sustainability and climate change awareness starting with scientists around the world protesting for governments to take action on climate change. As the focus on our environment is at the forefront this Earth Day, it is important for businesses to also step up to take action towards a more sustainable future. Climate change action is most impactful when businesses choose sustainability in their practices and products. This then trickles down to customers adopting sustainable purchasing practices.
Consumers are focused on brand transparency and sustainability now more than ever. In fact, 78% of consumers believe they can force a brand to change its societal impact (Edlemen). Consumers are boycotting brands with unfair practices and choosing to support brands that they connect with ethically and sustainably.
Small businesses are finding barriers when it comes to sustainable practices. It can be argued that some more sustainable options like becoming organically certified or using more sustainable sources are more expensive and not affordable at their current scale. There is also the barrier of knowledge of sustainability. Small business owners may find it difficult to find information on sustainable practices for their niche businesses.
With these barriers to small businesses in mind, there are also large benefits that can sway a small business owner to adopt sustainable easy practices within the workplace. One benefit is that it could lower costs in some areas. In fact, sustainable businesses often perform better financially by getting support from their loyal customer following. (Economist Intelligence Unit). When we look at it this way, sustainability becomes a fiscal opportunity as well as a good thing to do for the business. In fact, 71% of consumers say they would pay more for products made from sustainable brands. (greenbiz)
There are small steps each brand can take to honour Earth day and take strides towards more sustainable practices. Here are some easy steps small businesses can take:
This easy change from printing paper to going digital can not only save money and resources but also help save trees. Small businesses can send invoices via email where applicable, save important documents online, and even use online menus. The past two years with COVID implications making it hard for people to share things when out and about has led to the use of more digital options like menus and QR codes. This has also led to less paper use and more consumer acceptance of digital practices.
As a small business, going paperless and using digital CRMs (customer relationship management systems) can also help to organise information and automate things where needed. This can help a business to run even smoother online.
Working with Sustainable Suppliers
When choosing suppliers to help with making products or distributing products, choose suppliers with the same environmental ethos as your business. This can include suppliers that are ethically sourcing their materials, using less CO2 gas emissions, and have recyclable or biodegradable packaging. Choosing local suppliers can also help to decrease CO2 emissions from shipping. Here at Voyager, we always try to work with sustainable suppliers who are more local and environmentally conscious.
Reduce, ReUse, Recycle
Have recycling options within your offices or workspace for office products that can be recycled. Have a look around at what your business uses and whether it can be reused, reduced, or recycled. This can be as simple as having a recycling bin or even refill stations for products.
Buy Used or Refurbished
When looking for office furniture or shop furniture, shop local and preloved. This is an easy way to save money and the environment by using preloved furniture to furnish your business spaces. You can find used office furniture at charity shops like the British Heart Foundation or at local auctions. VoyagerCann’s office based in Perth has all second hand furniture in the office in order to stay sustainable.
Use Biodegradable or recyclable packaging
When sending products out, think about how much packaging is being used. Use biodegradable packaging where possible and cardboard or recyclable packaging as well. Where possible, reduce how much plastic is being used to package a product.
Offer remote work
Lastly, offering remote work can help limit petrol emissions from commuting to work. It’s an easy way to offer comfort to employees, save petrol money, and lower CO2 emissions. VoyagerCann offers a hybrid work environment with staff having the option to work from home or in the office in order to save on gas. We also have some staff who choose to car pull together.
In conclusion, there are many small options small businesses can easily take to move towards sustainability in 2022. As a small business, it can be overwhelming to not know where to start being a sustainable brand. But having a meeting and brainstorming small steps your business can take together to reduce pollution can be the first step. From there it’s getting creative and taking stock of where you can change!
Prioritizing the planet: 11 ways small businesses can become more eco-friendly | Greenbiz
Special Report: Trust, the New Brand Equity | Edelman
10 Sustainability Practices for Small Businesses