Sustainable business practices are more important than ever. Becoming more energy efficient, conserving water, and recycling/reducing/repurposing materials will reduce costs, leading to a more durable and profitable business. These practices can save your business money, improve your bottom line, and free up capital to invest in strengthening your company.
Every business can take small steps and make simple behavior changes to produce immediate results at no cost. Some actions take a little more effort or may take additional time to pay for themselves. Greater rewards typically require some additional commitments.
Examples of quick and easy actions to take:
- Improve energy efficiency - change the lights (LED), adjust the thermostat, use day lighting, install automatic lighting sensors, insulate, switch to renewable energy, and use energy efficient equipment and appliances! LINK to guides:
- Shut off equipment - turn off computers, unplug equipment, and put timers on machines to turn off power.
- Modify driving habits - slow down, reduce idling, conduct routine maintenance, haul full loads, or drive alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles.
- Travel less - limit and/or combine trips, encourage telecommuting, biking, carpooling, public transportation, conference calling/virtual meetings, and alternative work weeks.
- Reduce waste and increase recycling - reduce paper use (two-sided copies, go digital, electronic receipts, etc.), create a recycling and/or composting program, purchase green products, and rent, share, or lease equipment.
- Be water efficient - reduce and conserve water, install water-efficient appliances, and reuse water.
- Make it a team effort – keep your employees and customers aware of your progress and achievements – and ask for their suggestions, encourage teamwork across the company, reward staff for their work and contributions, keep efforts consistent and connected to daily activities, establish goals, enjoy your successes, and make it fun!
With a little bit of work, time, or some investment, your sustainability practices will save money, reduce the environmental impact of your business, provide new opportunities, and help position you for growth.
Why Should a Small Business Care About Sustainability?
It’s hard enough to just survive as a small business, so why should I care about sustainability? Because taking actions to become more sustainable will make your business more resilient and impact your long term success while increasing your profits through reduced operational costs. Sooner or later, every business will need to pay attention to sustainability in order to stay in business, as the pressure to disclose how environmental issues and social practices of your business (and your suppliers) intensifies. Healthy, long-lived, resilient businesses are more efficient, use less resources, less packaging, less toxic materials, less water, and produce less waste than their competitors.
As energy prices continue to rise, the energy efficiency actions you take will save you money. Small businesses are often more creative and flexible than larger companies, so engage your employees and collaborate with others to meet a sustainability challenge. Innovation is where small businesses shine! And it will help you attract and retain happier and more productive employees since many people want to work for an innovative and environmentally friendly company. Practicing sustainability can also lead to an improved brand image and competitive advantage. Many people consider a company’s impact to the environment and support to their community when deciding where to purchase goods and services. Show your customers, clients, and community that you care by demonstrating leadership and a commitment to a cleaner, healthier future.
|Photo: Terry Norris shows off the solar panels on the roof of Precision Labs Calibration.
All of these factors can make your business more profitable.