Here’s how to make a start.
Without sounding political, we all need to do our bit to help reduce our impact on climate change. The world as we know it today won’t be there for generations to come if we continue as we are. Understandably, it is a daunting task to change daily habits and reduce the amount of carbon our lifestyle creates.
Before we jump into some friendly advice on how to go about making some changes, let’s explore the benefits of having a more sustainable business beyond having a positive impact on the environment.
Why should you make your small business more sustainable?
The ethos of sustainability is to reduce, reuse and recycle. By doing any one of those, you will be saving your business money. If you lower your costs, you can (in theory) increase your profit.
Having a more sustainable business can also win you new customers. A First Insight study back in 2022 found that 72% of consumers consider sustainability in purchasing decisions – what’s more they are happy to pay a higher price for sustainable products and services. Your sustainability efforts could see customers pick you over the competition.
You may even come across suppliers enquiring about your sustainability credentials or practices for the same reason, using it as criteria to select who they work with. It’s worth noting any sustainability efforts you are making and adding this detail into relevant proposal or quotation documents.
Make a start with making your business more sustainable
If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of making major changes to your business, it’s OK to start small. Don’t underestimate the impact that lots of small changes can create. Take that first step and start with committing to a single change.
- Review and reduce your energy consumption. What equipment might be left on or in standby mode when not in use? Lights, computers, other machines? Make sure they are turned off properly when not in use. Save the planet and reduce your energy bills.
An area which uses a lot of energy is your website (well, the data centre which hosts it). A single data centre can produce as much carbon as a town with 50,000 residents! There are data centres which run entirely on renewable energy, so it’s worth having a chat with your website design or hosting provider if that’s something you’d like to explore.
If you’re able to, switch to greener energy like solar panels.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle – identify items you use in a typical business day which can either be reduced (buy less of), switch to a reuseable alternative, or with a bit of careful through can be recycled. If you are making changes, make sure all your employees know what you are trying to achieve and give them the tools to support this change.
- Challenge travel plans and deliveries – holding meetings online rather than in person can save you time, money and carbon emissions. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel at all but consider the impact of that travel plan and if it’s worth it. The same goes for deliveries – a bit of planning can help you reduce the number of deliveries it takes to fulfil your orders (and some courier companies reward this behaviour too!)
- Go paperless – we decided to do this ourselves during the pandemic. It did take time – firstly scanning and digitally filing every piece of paper we had, and secondly getting used to our new paperless processes, but it was worth it. Typically, paper is tied to transactional processes. There are lots of cloud-based apps and software which can manage the contractual elements of the transaction, it’s about finding the right one for your business. If you use accounting software, quotations and invoices can be sent digitally anyway.
- Offset your emissions – there are lots of schemes available where you can support projects which help to offset the carbon emissions you produce. Organisations such as Mossy Earth and Ecologi will plant trees to naturally absorb carbon help clean the air. You can sign up to contribute to their projects as a one-off or regularly. Some businesses promote the fact they make donations when they win new customers, so the customer feels they’ve contributed as well.
These points have hopefully given you some ideas to investigate within your own business and reassured you that sustainability changes don’t need to be huge transformations. Simple changes that you stick with are far better.
If you’re yet to make the switch to cloud-based accounting software, or you don’t feel you are using your current software to its full advantage, the team at Accounting Clarkes can help you. Book in a discovery call today by calling 01252 612484.