23 Jan 2023
Now more than ever, consumers want to shop with businesses that take their corporate social and environmental responsibilities seriously. A green business strategy can help the planet, and help you attract and retain customers. Here’s how to make it work.
With the goal of net zero by 2050 creeping closer, now is the time to start making greener business choices. It’s possible to succeed as a profitable company and protect the environment at the same time. A good green business strategy will provide you with a useful framework to work towards in the year ahead.
Here are 7 things to think about when mapping out your 2023 green goals.
You can boost your green credentials through your HR practices.
Sustainable HR initiatives can also have an impact on wellbeing and productivity: if employees feel like they’re helping to protect the environment on top of their day-to-day role, they’re likely to feel more fulfilled and positive about their time spent at work.
Firstly, be sure to mention your commitment to sustainability in each job description you post, as well as everything you offer to employees in terms of green benefits. Examples of green benefits could include transportation perks such as a cycle to work scheme, an electric car scheme, or flexible work arrangements such as remote or hybrid working.
Many businesses rely on shipping for trade, yet it’s a significant emissions contributor. According to the European Commission, global shipping contributes to 3% of worldwide greenhouse gases. But there are things you can do to reduce your impact, including by:
Using reusable or biodegradable packaging, such as corrugated boxes, compostable packing peanuts and hessian sacks.
Shipping items in bulk as opposed to separately; combining items into a single shipping container can help cut costs too.
Switching to a shipping company that offers carbon neutral or less carbon-intensive shipping options.
Suppliers will play a huge role in your green business strategy because their practices determine your Scope 3 carbon emissions. Increasingly, businesses are conducting supply chain footprint assessments on their suppliers in order to reach net zero.
Consider switching to a green energy supplier. Think about the transport involved in ordering goods from overseas suppliers, or suppliers that are based in another part of the country. Do they use electric vehicles for deliveries?
Partnering with local suppliers might be the more environmentally friendly option.
The built environment is a huge carbon contributor.
According to the World Green Building Council, buildings are responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions. 28% comes from operational emissions, i.e. from the energy that heats, cools and powers them. The remaining 11% comes from materials and construction.
You could consider getting an energy audit this year. An audit will help you to identify energy-related aspects of your business that could be greener. The auditor will look at your energy usage and provide you with insights that you can use to save energy.
Zoning your premises can give you control over which parts of the building are heated, and it could help cut costs. Opting for LED or fluorescent bulbs is a good idea, as is encouraging employees to turn off equipment at the end of the working day.
If you’re moving to a new premises this year or are refurbishing your current one, opt for furniture and furnishings that are made from recycled or reclaimed materials. There are lots of great second hand office furniture suppliers out there too.
There’s a focus in the design sector on circular products. These are items that are designed to be reused, repaired and remanufactured. In other words, they don’t go to waste or end up in landfill. Think about your own products – are they circular or linear?
A strategic partnership with a green company can help boost people’s perception of your brand. Take Treeapp, for instance. By signing up, you can choose to plant trees for every product you sell or to mark key business events and celebrations.
You could also share your knowledge and experience of ‘going green’ with your followers on social media to help educate them on how they can make their own business ventures kinder to the planet.
Be authentic and avoid greenwashing – it will end up damaging your brand.
If you’re looking to fund your green business plans, you’re in the right place.
We've created a Green Finance Marketplace to help SMEs fund their journey towards reaching net zero. If you’re a green business whose core mission is rooted in sustainability, or if your company is looking to purchase a green asset such as an electric vehicle or a solar panel, we’ll connect you to the right lender quickly and easily.
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