Running your business sustainably – an additional cost or a great opportunity?

With COP 26 being held in Glasgow in November – there will be a renewed focus on how businesses can be truly sustainable.

Often the actions of the largest companies grab the headlines (think 30 FTSE 100 Companies pledging to achieve net zero carbon emissions) leaving small businesses wondering where they fit in.

There can sometimes be the perception that “going green” is good for the planet but not for our pockets. And with it being a difficult couple of years for small business owners – priorities may lie within reducing spending rather than reducing a carbon footprint.

However, making changes in your day to day can be great for growing your business, be affordable and make an impact in the fight against climate change.

Sustainability seems to be key in attracting talent – especially when it comes to younger potential employees. According to research conducted by Anthesis Group – over half (53%) of the UK’s workforce says sustainability is an important factor in choosing a company to work for. When you take into account age – 67% of those in age brackets 16-24 have this opinion.

Additionally, you could find yourself attracting additional customers and – therefore – sales. Deloitte UK found that of customers surveyed, 34% chose brands that have environmentally sustainable practices in the past 12 months.

Often looking at business practices and seeing how they can be more sustainable can have the by-product of cost savings for your business:

  • Regularly reviewing your tariffs can allow you to check that you have the best rates with your energy supplier – you may find that going green could save you money
  • Choosing to use “pre-loved” office equipment can keep your purchase costs down
  • Selling used office equipment can also generate cash which can be reinvested into the business (perhaps on some energy-saving lightbulbs)
  • Reducing stock wastage through review of purchasing practices can leave you with less spoilage costs
  • Buying supplies (cleaning/toiletries/office food) from local ethical brands can reduce spend on postage and packaging
  • Reducing office space and promoting home-working – can result in reducing your fixed overheads such as rent, electricity and business rates

So to sum it up, don’t rule out going green – as this may result in a missed opportunity for both your business and the environment.

Nicole Zalys

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