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Ways to Make Your Business More Sustainable

Ways to Make Your Business More Sustainable

If you wonder whether customers consider the environmental impacts of the products and services they buy and the companies they do business with, the short answer is yes, most do. Nearly four out of five (78%) respondents to a recent NielsenIQ study said that a sustainable lifestyle is important to them, and the 2023 Business of Sustainability Index (BOSI) found that more than two out of three consumers (68%) are willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products.

Customers aren’t the only ones concerned with sustainability. Employees and investors are also increasingly supportive of business leaders who are taking a sustainable approach to their business practices. People want to be part of a company that cares about people, the planet and the future of the world for generations to come.

If you’re looking to make meaningful changes toward environmental stewardship this year and beyond, the following ideas may help strengthen your plans.

Evaluate and adjust your office practices

If your business has a physical location, look for opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Educate your employees. Make sure everyone on the team understands the company’s sustainability goals and why they’re important, and knows how they can contribute toward achieving those goals. Help them see that even small behavioral changes can make a big difference.
  • Make recycling easy for everyone. Clearly labeled recycling bins will remind workers to do their part, whether at their desks or in a lunch, break or conference room.
  • Be as paperless as possible. When hard copies are absolutely necessary, encourage two-sided printing.
  • Power down when computers and other equipment are not in use. Encourage employees to adopt energy-conserving computer habits, including switching to sleep mode when they are about to step away from their work for any length of time and shutting down their computers at the end of each workday.
  • Consider having a commercial energy audit conducted on your facility(ies). An energy auditor can evaluate your building’s energy usage, identify areas where energy is being wasted, and recommend strategies for saving both energy and money.

Make remote work options available

Offering remote or hybrid work opportunities helps many companies reduce their carbon footprint by limiting energy usage at the office and eliminating the vehicle emissions staff members would be generating each day they drove to their office. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), even though energy usage at employees’ homes consequently rises, the net benefit outweighs that increase, provided employees drive an average of more than 3.7 miles to work. Those driving shorter distances or taking public transit could actually increase the company’s footprint due to their additional energy consumption at home. Take stock of your team members’ commuting habits to determine if work-from-home could help your business become more sustainable.

Limit business trips

One of the great lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic was that it’s not always necessary to hop on a plane or get behind the wheel to carry out a successful client meeting. Videoconferencing can often be just as effective as an in-person meeting, and many executives have come to prefer the convenience of virtual interactions. Limiting travel has the potential to not only help you reduce carbon dioxide emissions but also save money on airfare, fuel, hotel rooms, meals, etc.

Localize your supply chain

Buying from local suppliers offers a variety of benefits beyond supporting your local economy. From a sustainability standpoint, it can help you reduce your carbon footprint by decreasing emissions, since delivery distances are shorter. From an operational standpoint, a local supply chain may offer you greater transparency, flexibility and control, as suppliers tend to form closer relationships with, and provide more personalized service to, their local customers.

Update your products and packaging

If your business manufactures and distributes physical goods, regularly assess how you might make your products and their packaging more environmentally friendly. Invest in recycled and/or recyclable packaging, which today’s customers don’t just prefer but expect; consider using natural ingredients where possible; and be transparent in your labeling so that consumers can make informed choices.

Make sustainable choices affordable and widely accessible

This one may be a bit tougher, but do your best to control the costs associated with producing and marketing more sustainable products so they are affordable to more shoppers. Currently, sustainable products cost, on average, 70% more than their unsustainable counterparts, putting them out of reach for many consumers. If sustainable raw materials and ingredients cost you more, consider looking into making your processes more efficient to offset those higher expenses. Companies that invest in making their sustainable products and services more affordable are more likely to broaden their consumer appeal in the coming years.

This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. Any reliance on the information herein is solely and exclusively at your own risk and you are urged to do your own independent research. To the extent information herein references an outside resource or Internet site, Dollar Bank is not responsible for information, products or services obtained from outside sources and Dollar Bank will not be liable for any damages that may result from your access to outside resources. As always, please consult your own counsel, accountant, or other advisor regarding your specific situation.  

Posted: June 07, 2024