Running a business comes with a lot of cares and concerns that weren’t necessarily priorities for most entrepreneurs of the past. One of the most pressing of these concerns is the desire to make a business’s operations as sustainable as possible. The less effect you have on the environment, the better.
Today’s customers actively seek out these business attributes, as making informed purchasing decisions have become part and parcel of the modern economy. Here are some basic tips that any business should look into in order to help streamline their operations in as sustainable a manner as possible:
While there are countless ways to operate in a sustainable manner, many eco-friendly options are specific to each business’s location, size, needs, and so on. However, here are a few overarching, actionable suggestions to get your business on the sustainable track.
In the modern world, it’s hard to find a reason notto go paperless. While specific situations that require paper do still exist, most business transactions and records can easily be done online. This can come in the form of emailing receipts to customers, keeping forms and documentation in digital formats whenever possible, and so on. Going paperless can help fight things like deforestation, (which affects more than just paper) and can also help keep your own costs lower. It also has the added benefit that paperless storage is both simpler and less of a mess to keep organized.
Another sustainable option is to invest in solar panels. As the costs and availability of other natural resources continue to prove hazardous, the accessibility of good solar panels has improved, making them more and more of a viable sustainable option.
If you decide to invest in solar energy, it’s worthwhile to look into the solar tax credit as well. While everyone doesn’t automatically qualify, the credit does apply to businesses as well as homeowners, and they may make the costs of installing solar panels much less intimidating.
Track Your Water Usage
Freshwater consumption has increased drastically modern times and is only showing signs of continuing to increase in the future. From limiting waste while washing dishes to installing low water-usage toilets, there are countless ways to curb the amount of water that a business uses.
Create a Sustainable Supply Chain
Entrepreneurs and small start-ups can often have a very difficult time scaling their efforts as they go through the exhilarating initial success of seeing their businesses grow, which is why it’s extra important to go about building those supply chains with the big picture in mind when it comes to sustainability.
Restaurants are an excellent example of businesses that can have a huge impact when they take the time to carefully create sustainable supply chains. This can be done, for example, by sourcing their ingredients from local, organic farmers. When this is done well, it allows them to provide quality products that are sourced from neighboring farms and businesses, creating an eco-friendly solution that remains close to their base of operations and well within their sphere of influence.
The Effect on Marketing
While making a conscious, purposeful effort to go green with a modern business is an ethically sound business decision in and of itself, there are some added benefits that come along with the deal. One of the most obvious of these is the marketing halo effect that it can bring along with it. If your business is known for being eco-friendly, that will naturally endear customers to your brand, creating a sense of loyalty that extends beyond a simple “good experience.”
Efforts to keep your supply chains geographically close by can also help create an aura of a locally grown, locally focused business, which, in turn, garners the patronage of those who like to “buy local.” This emphasis on local economies and businesses has come to have a substantial message in the modern economy, and it’s a badge that any company can wear with honor.
While some countries require their businesses to set aside a portion of their income for sustainability-focused improvements, in many other cases the efforts and initiatives for businesses to operate sustainably lie solely in the hands of the owners themselves, which is why it’s a topic that we must take the time to proactively address.
However, it isn’t something that should be seen purely as a drain on company resources. It is worth an owner’s time to go over a business’s operations and make sure that everything is as sustainable as possible. It’s an effort that is sure to reap rewards from both from the Earth as well as from your own customer base.