7 Ways to Make Your Small Business More Sustainable


As a small business owner, you’re probably constantly thinking of ways you can improve your business.

One of the great ways you can do that AND help the environment is by making your business more sustainable. You might be thinking your environmental impact is inconsequential, but it’s not.

When it comes to saving the planet, every little thing counts. Moreover, promoting your green, sustainable ways to your customers can positively impact and make them make changes in their lives.

So, to get you started, we compiled a list of some of the ways you can make your small business more sustainable.

Why is Sustainability Important?

Before we get started with how you can make your small business more sustainable, we first have to cover why you should make these changes in the first place. To put it lightly, this is something that customers care about. When picking out businesses to shop from, they don’t just look at the prices and compare that with your competitors.

Customers now want to know more about your products and services; dig deeper beneath the surface before they decide what they want to do with their hard-earned money. And, if they know your business practices are sustainable and not hurting the environment, they’ll return to you time and time again.

What Can You Do to Make Your Small Business More Sustainable?

Person holding a green leaf with a hand that’s painted green make your small business more sustainable

Each company is unique, so what works for one company may not work for another one. However, there are some popular measures most businesses can take to lessen their environmental impacts:

#1 Work from Home

Before the pandemic, working from home wasn’t a popular option. But after more than two years of the pandemic, a large number of businesses decided not to go back to the office. Instead, most of their employees who work online can now work from home permanently.

The benefits are clear: working from home is not only better for the work-life flexibility of employees but also for the environment. This minor modification can significantly reduce the company’s total carbon footprint and help with the traffic in the area.

Furthermore, by having fewer workers in the office, businesses get a chance to save money on things like inventory, lighting, and heating.

#2 Offer Employee Incentives for Using Public Transport

If you can’t get around working from the office due to the nature of your small business, there are still ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.

One of the best ways is to incentivize your employees to take public transport instead of driving to work each day. For example, you can offer them better benefits or pay for their public transport passes.

#3 Make Energy-Efficient Upgrades

Energy efficiency not only helps companies lower their carbon footprints but also helps them save money on their energy bills. So, when optimizing your office space, think of all the eco-friendly additions you can make.

For example, you can utilize as much natural light as possible and switch to LED lighting as a backup. To save energy, you can also install smart thermostats and switch from desktop PCs to laptops. It’s really that easy to make your small business more sustainable.

#4 Go Paperless

Going paperless is another simple way to make your company more environmentally friendly. This means that you should use digital documents instead of paper whenever that’s possible. This not only saves trees but also saves money on printing costs.

While working in a paperless environment is a wonderful goal, it isn’t always feasible. You’ll need a piece of paper at some point. You can still save a lot of trees by just using recycled paper from sustainable sources in your office.

Furthermore, you can encourage your staff to utilize reusable notebooks and pens rather than disposable ones. Just remember to recycle the paper after you’re done with it.

#5 Use Sustainable Packaging

Does your small business deliver goods to customers? Then, it’s important you look at the packaging. Consider utilizing cardboard and paper for your packaging instead of plastic. These are the kinds of things that your consumers will notice, and they’ll want to do business with you again.

For example, If you have a shoe business, it’s essential to consider your packaging choices. Opting for eco-friendly materials like cardboard and paper for your packaging instead of plastic showcases your commitment to sustainability. This conscious decision will not go unnoticed by your customers, increasingly seeking environmentally friendly options. By utilizing custom printed shoe boxes, you can create a memorable unboxing experience while aligning your brand with sustainable practices.

Of course, this is easier said than done: plastic packaging is generally the cheapest choice, and you have to consider your profit margins. However, customers who truly care about the environment won’t care if the cost of shipping costs a few dollars more – it’s a small price to pay to help the environment.

#6 Eliminate single-use items

Single-use items like plastic water bottles and coffee cups contribute significantly to pollution. Think of the number of water bottles your employees throw out within one day.

That’s why you should, if at all feasible, provide reusable alternatives to dissuade your staff from using them. For example, invest in a water cooler or a coffee machine and offer your staff reusable cups. Once again, the tiniest change can make a significant impact.

#7 Donate

Do you have a particular environmental cause that you are passionate about? Make a deal with them and give a portion of your profits to their cause. However, since your business is still growing, you might not have enough resources in your budget.

In that case, consider adding an optional “donate” button to your checkout page. This button will allow consumers to make a small gift to your selected cause if they want.

Final Thoughts

Making your business more sustainable is a journey, not a destination. So, don’t be worried if it takes more time than you previously thought it would. Every small step you take to make your small business more sustainable is a step in the right direction. And it benefits everyone!

By making your business more sustainable, you’ll be attracting new customers, saving money, and helping the environment all at once. However, to become more environmentally friendly in the long haul, you should consider coming up with a sustainability plan. You can set up your short-term and long-term goals and start working on them as soon as possible!

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Author Bio: Kaddy Sutherland is an experienced copywriter passionate about sustainability and ecology. She’s also an expert in all things related to moving, as she’s currently working at Fairfax Transfer and Storage. She lives in Charlottesville, and her dream is to open a coffee shop with a bookstore inside one day.