Over the last few years, small businesses have been turning to green practices to help their bottom line. This is due in part because of increased costs for energy and water conservation, as well as the rise of environmental consciousness among consumers.
The good news is that small business owners can adopt some green ways for their business to be sustainable as well as help their overhead costs and we outline some easy to implement options below.
The push for greener business practices
The 2021 Australian Business Assurance Report found that small businesses were unprepared for the challenges of climate change and sustainability over the next two years.
It is predicted that small businesses will be highly impacted by rising costs due to factors such as carbon pricing, energy efficiency schemes and renewable standards. On the plus side, it does seem that SMEs are at the forefront of pushing for sustainable practices in the workplace and small business owners are embracing eco-friendly plans.
The report found that small businesses were willing to invest 57 percent more budget, time, and personnel towards support for environmental initiatives. In fact, 85 percent of the businesses surveyed are already taking measures to reduce their environmental impact, particularly with regards to waste management, which 57 percent of respondents say their organisations have been able to address.
Reduced emissions are also a priority with 48 percent working to reduce their energy consumption, 24 percent increasing their local sourcing, 23 percent reducing travel and product transportation.
Customer’s preferring green brands
The push for greener options is also coming from the customer side with 88 percent of customers stating that they prefer to buy brands from companies with a strong sustainability policy.
With an increased global focus on the environment, small businesses that adapt their operations to be more sustainable will have a clear advantage and view favourably in consumers’ eyes.
Customers will increasingly look for sustainable brands to support, so it’s important for small businesses to start making the necessary changes now.
How can your business go green in 2022?
In order to make the transition, SMEs need to assess their environmental impact, identify areas for improvement and set measurable goals.
There are many ways small businesses can go green, for instance, you can start by making small changes to the way your business operates.
Some easy ways to go green include:
- Installing energy-efficient lighting
- Using recycled materials in your products or packaging
- Carpooling or using public transportation to reduce emissions from vehicles
- Turning off electronics when they’re not in use
- Composting food waste instead of sending it to a landfill or at a minimum making sure there are sorting bins for rubbish (recycling, coffee grounds/cups, food waste etc)
If you’re looking for bigger changes, you could consider installing solar panels or switching to a green energy provider. These measures can be a bit more expensive, but they can also save you money in the longer term.
The cost of solar power has fallen by more than 80% since 2010, making it a viable option for small businesses.
Switching to green power can save you from paying higher bills if the price of electricity keeps climbing. And with costs falling and government incentives available, now is as good a time as any to make the switch.
Whatever changes you decide to make, be sure to set measurable goals so you can track your progress and continue to improve over time.
Let your customers know you’re going green
Finally, with customers increasingly interested in sustainability, it’s your time to shout about it. It can be a great opportunity to market your small business as being environmentally responsible and social media is an easy and free platform to do so.
There are plenty of small things you can do to show that you’re taking steps towards sustainability while still protecting your bottom line and the above highlights plenty of business benefits to help you consider going green.