The landscape of business is going through a dramatic change, with phrases such as net-zero and carbon-neutral increasingly trending. Whilst many companies are brushing off sustainability as merely the latest fad, those smart enough know it’s here to stay. Consumers are increasingly demanding brands take responsibility for their environmental impact.
To get ahead of the game, businesses must act early & adapt their practices to align with customer values. Figuring out where to begin might feel overwhelming, so here are 5 simple ways to make your business more sustainable in 2021 written by Izzie Glazzard.
Get savvy with your recycling
Simply recycling your paper waste doesn’t cut it anymore. Innovative recycling services are available for all kinds of waste; your job is to seek those services actively.
The best way to begin recycling better is by auditing all the different waste streams & types your company produces. Initially identify ways in which you can reduce each form of waste. For example; use digital presentations rather than printing, reward staff for bringing a packed lunch rather than buying packaged meals, purchase reclaimed office furniture etc. The reduction potential is endless when you’re willing to get creative.
Once you’ve reduced your waste, assess what is left. Consider what materials your local council & recycling providers will take. Plastic is a particularly problematic material that should be used as little as possible. But when its consumption is unavoidable, there are solutions. ReWorked can provide your company with a mixed plastic recycling box whereby anything your waste team or local council won’t take, they will! Equally, tricky items such as ink cartridges can be recycled via dedicated services. Your end goal should be having 0% of the waste your business produces going to landfill. No excuses!
The remote working revolution
Letting your employees work from home (where possible) can have a significant impact on a companies carbon footprint. The average commute time in the UK is 59 minutes – According to a study by TUC. Increasing the amount of staff working remotely or allowing more flexible ‘in-office’ hours could significantly affect carbon emissions.
The pandemic has brought the remote working revolution to a head; demonstrating how productive employees can be when allowed to work from the comfort of our own homes. Developments in team working technologies mean we can effectively collaborate at a distance. Future trends are showing less and less need for bricks & mortar offices to exist at all, with start-ups opting for completely remote teams or shared office spaces. This model reduces carbon emissions, electricity usage and office supply waste significantly.
What the **** is sustainable banking?!
Sustainable banking is a relatively new term, and something even the most hardcore eco-buffs are only recently considering. Banks partly make their money by investing money into businesses & growth markets. Traditionally, those investments have had adverse effects on the environment.
Top tip: Research your banking provider, where do their investments go? Do their beliefs align with your companies morals?
If you research sustainable banking providers, positive change-makers do exist. Allowing your interest & profits to be handled by the right provider is a massive step in the right direction.
The power of packaging
As people become more environmentally aware, product packaging becomes an integral consideration when purchasing. Removing all plastic packaging (including courier bags, bubble wrap, packing beans etc.) from your offering can make a massive difference to your footprint. But if you cannot avoid plastic, consider the type you use, as not all plastic is created equal. Recycled plastic packaging – that can be recycled again is the preference over virgin plastic & hard-to-recycle polymers. A change in packaging will make your business more eco-friendly & your customers will notice the difference! Reports show 74% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging – According to research by Trivium Packaging.
Alternative packaging solutions are continually being invented. For example, edible seaweed packaging is a massive breakthrough for the food market. And cardboard alternatives to typically poly-products are available and easily recyclable, making them a much more responsible choice.
Use your voice
One of the most powerful ways a business can be more sustainable is by engaging with its audience. Consider the influence your company has within the market and the relevant issues. Start an open narrative about environmental issues and how they can help you achieve your net-zero goals.
Be honest and open to criticism, because without a doubt along this journey you will face some. Use your platform to inform others of ‘best practices’, evolving plastic-free alternatives and innovative recycling methods. A journey to sustainable business is about so much more than using less, it’s a learning curve – and the more people you bring along for the ride, the better.