A sustainable business practice has an impact not only on the business itself, but also its customers, society, and of course the environment. If you are a business owner, or you simply care about the environment, learning how to create, and maintain a sustainable business practice may help you in the long run. You see, regardless of the size of your company, you can develop sustainable performance that also helps you become more successful as well. Over time most business owners realize that companies that help protect the environment also protect their own profits.
What is a Sustainable Strategy?
There are many ways of developing a sustainable business strategy to boost your bottom line, and reach your long-term goals. However, you may not know what they are. Consider that a sustainable business may use a range of materials, behaviors, and operations in order to implement the strategy, and protect the environment.
Some of the most common practices of an internal sustainable business strategy include:
- Purchasing recycled office materials
- Encouraging individual office recycling
- Reducing conventional energy consumption
- Utilizing smart appliances, thermostats, or lights
- Implementing an organic kitchen utensils rule
- Cutting back on travel, and fuel costs
- Rewarding sustainable office behaviors including carpooling, and bicycling to work
- Use renewable materials whenever possible
- Avoid using paper products
Developing your own sustainable business solution is the first essential step in creating a successful, environmentally friendly company. Sustainable businesses that care about their customers do better at pleasing them, and meeting their needs than companies following a conventional plan. Once you have developed a sustainability business plan all of the company’s efforts to follow the strategy will support your overall goals, while solidifying the company foundation.
As a business owner you may be wondering why you should take the time to develop a sustainable strategy for your company. Here are the main reasons to protect the environment with a sustainable business practice:
- Boost your brand image
- Reduce waste
- Increase resources
- Competitive costs
- Increased customer conversions
- Higher return on investment (ROI)
- Attractive to customers
- Builds a strong company foundation
- Increases long-term profitability
Are You a Sustainable Company?
Basically, a sustainable company minimizes negative effects of all business practices on the environment. Any business may recycle, use eco-friendly materials, and recycled products, create social initiatives, or use other sustainable business solutions. There are many factors that affect the sustainability practices a company exercises in one day, a week, or even a year. If you have an interest in creating sustainable performance practices within your company as an owner, or employee there are ways to achieve your goal. It is best to start with the first step: performing a basic analysis of your current business practices.
- Ask about employee behavior
- Look for ways to create more sustainability
- Find ways to consider the environment in every department
- Review invoices, and purchasing receipts for sustainable suppliers
- Talk to other business owners
- Read up on environmental topics for sustainable businesses
- Analyze your commitment to sustainability
7 Ways Small Businesses Can Contribute to Environmental Protection
Every corporate sustainability strategy is different. Based on a commitment to the environment, community, and leadership any business can increase their level of sustainability. Here are just seven ways that a small business can contribute to environmental protection through a sustainable business practice.
- Know the Benefits. You must know how to protect the environment through creating sustainable performance both in, and outside of your small business in order to implement it. Today, there are very few companies that want to hurt the environment however, they may not make the effort it takes to protect it with environmentally friendly protocols. Sustainable business practices pay off, but you may not know why it is important to use a business plan with the environment in focus. Remember: keep track of all sustainable practices in order to see a tangible result of your efforts. If you do not see enough positive change over a six month trial period you need to compare the results to the next six months, and then consider making adjustments.
- Make the Effort. Making a commitment to sustainable business practices is the best way to create a positive environmental impact. In fact, every step a small business takes towards sustainability is a giant leap for that company. Moving forward with your sustainability business plan you may expect to notice a stronger company foundation, and greater profit. You can transform your business into an organization with a sustainability model that actually works by starting with a commitment to change. The only way to truly make a positive impact on the environment as a company is to begin with employee, and corporate sustainability.
- Explain Why. When you talk to employees of a small business without a sustainability plan they may wonder about the benefits. The small changes you make every day can make a BIG difference for the environment. Explain to each employee how much they can do with even the smallest efforts around the office. It is always easier for an employee to perform a day-to-day task when they understand what they are doing, and why. Start with a simple group meeting, and then also encourage interpersonal social groups, and individual acts of environmentally friendly protocols.
- Check Yourself. Sustainability depends on the everyday decisions that you make in your small business. If you are confident that you can make a commitment to sustainable business management, check your supply chain. If you become aware of anything that goes against your decision to use environmentally friendly practices, change your supplier. Your suppliers should always protect the environment with sustainable materials, goods, processing, and distribution. If you have a human resources (HR) department request regular checks to make sure sustainable protocols are being followed.
- Stay Positive. As a small business, sustainability in the workplace is a good move. In fact, you will start noticing the benefits immediately, and you can continue to watch them manifest throughout your journey. Stay motivated by deepening your commitment to sustainability with a positive attitude. Let’s face it … in small business there are times when it will be challenging to favor the environment but when the bottom line takes a backseat to sustainability, great things can happen. You will see, if you just stay positive.
- Advance Your Technology. Your tech probably needs an upgrade, but if you are like most company owners your old technology is just getting you by. Use your sustainability business model to include technological advancements that increase your ability to protect the environment. New types of environmentally-friendly tech may include LED bulbs, smart thermostats, or digital software. Adopting new ways to integrate environmentally protective protocols is the best way to achieve your goals of sustainable business.
- Mean It. Not unlike other protocols within the organization, environmentally friendly sustainable business initiatives require that you take action. A business can say “We are a sustainable company,” but it takes time for a company to actually manifest something meaningful. If you want to say your company is sustainable, and actually mean it – prioritize workable everyday programs. Then track, and measure the performance of your sustainability programs with detailed reports you can compare over time. This is how you can turn hopeful visions of sustainable business into a tangible reality.
Talk to a professional about how you can integrate these seven principles of environmental protection for small businesses. You can use them, and other ways to contribute to environmental protection within your own small business to achieve short, and long-term goals.