According to Planet Ark and HP Australia, 90% of Australian consumers are concerned about the environment. Yet they look to brands to encourage positive actions towards protecting the planet.
Green businesses are the powerhouses for change.
You’re part of the driving force to turn consumer’s talk into walk. What’s good for customers is good for business, brand awareness, productivity, costs and a healthier eco-system.
How do you make sustainability part of every day? Try these tips:
1. Break the Addiction to Convenience
The crisis of convenience is the culprit behind waste.
If you want to reduce it, you have to limit the throwaway lifestyle. Australian small and medium businesses send 6.5 tonnes of waste to landfill yearly. Single-use products, paper, packaging and food.
Tips to action:
- Make sustainable switches; swap paper for digital/cloud computing and plastic/aluminium pods for stainless steel
- Add a compost bin for office and kitchen food waste
- Minimise employee habits that rely on single-use products; encourage staff to bring reusable water bottles and supply reusable utensils, storage containers and an eco-friendly coffee machine
- Provide clearly marked recycling bins
- Measure the impact of your waste
- Promote litterless lunches
2. Source Ethical Materials
Make the ethical choice, whether it’s materials for your products or in your office.
Green businesses use renewable materials from sources that are humane and commit to sustainable practices. Use, design and create products that are eco-friendly to reduce your impact and meet consumer expectations.
Check businesses and suppliers you do business with are:
- Ethical fair-trade and/or organic
- Compliant with environmental regulations
- Using eco-friendly practices to make and sell the materials you’re buying
- Buy green products, equipment and services
- Consider the life cycle of your product(s) and how they’re disposed of afterwards
- Use sustainable materials
- Make eco-friendly part of your brand’s mission
3. Allow Remote Work or Outsourcing
Working from home is the future of work.
Daily commutes to the office are often expensive and ecologically damaging. By allowing remote work, you create a better environment for all.
Many staff also prefer remote work options over a pay rise. Whilst not everyone is able to work from home, encouraging the option for remote tasks provides genuine benefits.
- Reduces the carbon footprint of staff
- Increases productivity
- Less fuel usage
- Reduces staff turnover
- Minimises absenteeism
- Encourages operational cost savings
4. Invest in Eco-Friendly Packaging
Plastic creeps into so much packaging.
Sadly, only a third of Australia’s plastic packaging waste gets recycled. The rest? Floating in our oceans and overflowing landfills.
Minimise your brand’s carbon footprint by changing the way you package your products.
- Use eco-friendly materials ie: bamboo, cardboard, corn starch, degradable bubble wrap, mycelium (mushrooms), organic fabric
- Choose lightweight packaging to reduce shipping costs
- Avoid mixing materials, two types can render it unrecyclable
- Make the packaging functional
Eco-designs and packaging make landfill less damaging and reusing and recycling easier. It cuts costs, limits waste and positions your business as planet-friendly.
5. Support Green Initiatives and Businesses
Customers who support eco-conscious companies pay attention to who you do business with. If you’re doing the right thing, but working with suppliers who aren’t, you can lose your credibility.
Show them you walk the talk by engaging with companies who are eco-friendly.
Tips to action:
- Check if your business super fund or bank invests in fossil fuels
- Sponsor or support green initiatives
- Use sustainable third-parties
- Start partnerships with eco-conscious groups
- Boycott brands who test on animals, use palm oil, have non-biodegradable or non-recyclable materials, cause excess pollution or don’t have sustainable practices
6. Know Your Customers
No business or brand is built without understanding who your audience is first.
To be eco-friendly, you must know the customer demand for sustainability. The needs of your customers may change over time. As new trends emerge, people seek different features in products and services. But now more consumers are choosing ethical and sustainable, taking action to make changes for the better will remain important.
What we do, buy and how we use and dispose of things makes us all responsible for the environment. A green business creates a resilient infrastructure inside and out. You’ll build brand loyalty and focus on what matters most – the big picture.
This article is written by Jayde Walker, a business owner who supports eco-friendly initiatives and writes for sustainable industries.