How your small business can participate in sustainability initiatives

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By Noah Rue

As a small business, you might be wondering how you can make an impact on the planet through more sustainable initiatives. Whether you’re looking to conserve more energy, participate in more ethical purchasing, or completely makeover your current business model here are some sustainability ideas to get you and your small business started:

Small businesses and the big picture

Corporate sustainability initiatives come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it’s important to establish which ones are the right fit for your business plan. If you want to make long-lasting changes, sustainability needs to be an integral part of your business model. Think of it as pouring the foundation for all other sustainability efforts. This can look like committing to conscious capitalism or corporate social responsibility (CSR). While these two initiatives may seem similar, and sometimes go hand-in-hand, understanding their differences can help you better incorporate them into your business practices.

Conscious capitalism encourages an integrated commitment to social responsibility and ethical business conduct. CSR, on the other hand, promotes social accountability through traditional business models that positively contribute to society and the environment. While it is arguably easier for big corporations to integrate these kinds of policies into their business initiatives, it is possible to do so on a smaller business scale. For example, you can make sure your products are ethically sourced, donate to social causes, and get involved with community service.

Save energy (and $$$)

Conserving energy is an easy way for small businesses to make a difference — and also save money. Becoming more energy-efficient is fairly simple to implement as well. Especially if you operate out of a home or a very small space, there are a lot of ways your business can help the environment with sustainable energy efforts:

-Plant trees: Adding more trees to your business’s property is rarely a bad idea. Beyond their air-purifying and curb-appeal perks, trees can also provide some much-needed shade. If your office is spending too much energy and money on air conditioning each summer, see if it’s possible to bring in a few shade-providing trees to offset this.

-Tune-up: Speaking of air conditioners, you should have a professional doing annual tune-ups of your air conditioners and furnace to see if there are any possible to duct air leaks. This can lower your energy waste and keep your systems running efficiently.

-Power strips: These days, technology is as much an employee as the human ones. However, all those laptop chargers, desktops, printers can be a major energy consumer, even when not in use. Save some energy by integrating more power strips for your devices so it’s easier to completely disconnect and conserve energy.

Sustainability initiatives can be easy and practical. Furthermore, with everyone in your business on board, practicing positive daily habits can make a difference in your energy consumption. It’s also possible to borrow these kinds of green efforts into your personal life as well.

Sustainable supply chain

With typically smaller capital and less leverage to make sustainable practices more practical and widespread than major corporations, many small businesses can feel left out of corporate sustainability initiatives. However, even on a smaller scale, sustainable practices still matter. And small businesses arguably have one advantage over big corporations — their supply chain.

With a smaller scope of the supply chain to deal with, small businesses can have more say in who they source their inventory from than a big corporation. This presents the opportunity to pick sustainable suppliers and lower things like your energy emissions. Instead of having to go off-shore to meet high supply demands, which increases a business’s carbon footprint, you can find local suppliers. Staying local also presents a chance to spread your brand’s awareness which can lead to more opportunities to meet new and upcoming sustainable suppliers.

From energy improvements to integrating sustainability into every aspect of your business, even small businesses can make a big difference when it comes to sustainability initiatives.

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Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.

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