This article is taken from our autumn 2021 edition of Equinox. Click here to download the full magazine.
As the effects of climate change become impossible to ignore, businesses must become sustainable. Zellar, the sustainability experts, explain how to do this.
Small and medium enterprises make up 99.9% of all businesses in the UK, meaning they hold the power to reduce emissions and make a difference. Plus, large corporations such as Unilever, Apple and Microsoft are reducing carbon emissions along their supply chain, which directly impacts many smaller businesses who need to become part of the sustainable procurement cycle.
The pressure is on, but becoming sustainable is good for your business – with customers happy to pay a premium price for a product or service that has been produced ethically. So, becoming more sustainable is great for our planet AND great for your business, but where do you start?
We know small businesses don’t always have the resources to develop a detailed climate plan – that’s why we’re here to break down the jargon and kick off your journey to becoming sustainable.
Here are our nine top tips to becoming more sustainable.
1. Benchmark your carbon emissions
We’re often told to not compare ourselves to others, but when it comes to sustainability, comparison is key! When starting your mission to become eco-friendlier, you need to look at where you stand amongst businesses in your industry and your community.
Business is, by its nature, competitive, and by benchmarking your brand against others, you can ensure you don’t lose your competitive edge.
2. Sustainable behavioural change
A business is made up of hundreds (even thousands!) of tiny processes. Each of these processes has an individual carbon footprint that adds up to your grand total. Becoming sustainable is about making small, smart, eco-conscious changes to bring your overall total down, for example: reducing travel emissions; switching to energy efficient lightbulbs; recycling; only printing when essential; optimising heat and water and many more.
3. Transition to greener suppliers
Aim to work with suppliers who have clear sustainable values and treat being green as part of their mission. Look at how they’re working to be ecofriendlier, from using green energy (e.g. electric cars rather than petrol powered vehicles) to creating plastic free products using biodegradable or recyclable materials. If you are unsure of the sustainability policy of a supplier, make sure you get in touch with them to find out or make the switch to a supplier who is more transparent.
4. Green tech to protect the planet
Green technology refers to environmentally friendly technology which reduces our negative impact on our planet. Green technologies use less power than conventional or older products and are a far better option for businesses wanting to become more sustainable, save energy and lower their carbon emissions.
Energy is one of the highest single cost items in most business but managed properly it can also be one of the easiest ways to reduce both consumption and carbon emissions. By using green technologies, businesses can not only lower their carbon footprint but also their bills by minimising energy use and creating a more efficient business.
5. Support local carbon and biodiversity offsetting
Even with a lot of sustainable changes, your business may still struggle to become entirely green. This is where carbon offsetting comes in. By buying into carbon offset initiatives, you can write off the remaining emissions on your sustainability score. If you choose a local offset initiative you can reduce the carbon footprint of your local area, helping to educate people, put systems in place to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and reverse the damage already done.
6. Start volunteering
Volunteering is about donating time or skills willingly to a good cause and incorporating volunteering days into your business is a great way to benefit your community, enhance team communications, learn and develop new skills, improve employee satisfaction and more.
Environmental volunteering focuses on activities which seek to preserve and protect our planet as well as creating spaces for us to enjoy our landscapes.
7. Promote your green sustainable credentials
Climate change and sustainability are increasingly important to consumers and your community. List your company on Zellar’s directory for sustainable businesses and let others know that you’re committed to eco-conscious values.
The directory shows consumers which businesses are working towards sustainability, helping them make informed choices about where they spend their money. We automatically update business profiles that are listed on the directory as your sustainability journey progresses and you can promote your stories on your social media profiles, including Twitter and Facebook. By adding your business to the directory, you achieve transparency in the simplest way!
8. Share your responsibility journey
If you are building a more sustainable business, you need to start marketing yourself as one. Marketing is an essential aspect of every business’s success and the best way of getting your name out there as a sustainability leader.
Marketing your plan will have a wealth of benefits, including improving your brand image and attracting more potential employees, giving you the pick of the best talent.
9. Become a sustainable business the simple way
A lot of SMEs feel overwhelmed at the thought of overhauling their business to become a sustainable brand. Being sustainable is a must, but being stressed definitely isn’t! Luckily it doesn’t have to be complicated. Visit www.zellar.com now to gain access to free guides, videos and a carbon calculator to benchmark your emissions.
Disclaimer: The content contained in this blog represents represents the opinions of Equilibrium Investment Management LLP (EIM) and Equilibrium Financial Planning LLP (EFP). The commentary in no way constitutes a solicitation of investment advice. It should not be relied upon in making investment decisions and is intended solely for the entertainment of the viewer. Past performance is never a guide to future performance. Investments may (will) fall as well as rise and you may not get back your original investment.’