As New Zealanders become aware of their powerful purchasing decisions, businesses are under pressure to go green with their operations.
According to a recent report Commissioned by the Sustainable Business Council, at least 47 percent of New Zealanders say they care about sustainability when choosing a brand/product to purchase.
And whilst the onus is on everyone to make changes, small businessescan play a leading role in protecting the planet.
Opting for sustainable practices can not only show your commitment to the environment, it can set you apart from other businesses and create a unique selling point in a competitive market.
Luckily there are simple steps that you can take that can make a real difference.
Let’s look at ten ways you can make your brand more sustainable.
- Aim for zero waste
Do you know how much waste your business sends to landfill every year? Reducing it can improve your green credentials.
Start by conducting a thorough waste audit and identify which items are being recycled and which ones are going to the landfill.
Engage employees in developing waste management strategies andreduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can.
- Switch to LED Lighting
Perhaps the biggest consumption of energy in work environments is for lighting.
To conserve energy, replaceincandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent alternatives to LED lighting. On average, LEDs consume80% less energy when compared to incandescent light bulb.
They may require higher upfront costs, but they pay for themselves by reducing energy usage and lightbulb replacements.
- Adopt sustainable packaging
Kiwis throw away an estimated 159g of plastic waste per person, making new Zealand one of the highest waste generators in the world.
It’s clear that companies have a pivotal role to play in changing this unsustainable dynamic.
You can significantly reduce your brand’s pollution contribution by changing the way you package your products. Swap out single-use plastics with recyclable, reusable or compostable options.
- Go paperless
While going completely paperless is noble goal, it’s not very practical in a business. But by using recycled paper and digitizing your operations, for example, moving from Snail Mail to Email and using a digital invoicing system,you can reduce your paper trail which can save precious storage space and countless trees.
- Create a Culture of Sustainability
Youcan’t go green without getting your whole team on board. Engage in active communication about sustainability with all the stakeholders. Encourage them to come up with some ideas, and then work on developing a mission statement that embodies it.
Talk about sustainability during meetings and reward sustainable practices that align with your environmental ethos.
- Donate to charity
Besides internal sustainability goals, your business can contribute to the “bigger picture” by bolstering large-scale environmental conservation efforts.
Feel free support a specific cause, whether it’s planting trees, curbing air pollution, carbon removal, climate protest, or whatever else that reflects your brand beliefs, and appeals more to potential customers.
- Secure green certifications
Acquiring green business certification is a great way to show your company’s commitment to environmental protection.
It can help you attract more customers who share your passion for the environment.
In New Zealand, there’s a plethora of third party entities that can verify your business across different sectors, such as AsureQuality ,B Corps and Environmental choice NZ,among many others.
If you’re interested in Green Business Certification, make sure that you use a legitimate certification program.
- Source sustainably
To source sustainably, your company has to address environmental, social, economic and legal concerns across its entire supply chain.
Companies that commit to sustainable, ethical sourcing often increase their bottom line by inspiring brand loyalty and reducing waste as result of improved procurement planning practices.
- Make small changes
When it comes to sustainability even the smallest changes can make a difference. Don’t forget to swapsingle-use coffee paper cups for reusable, use natural light to cut down on energy usage, adjust your thermostat and recycling your printer toner. Such minor changes can a have a big ripple effect not just on your company’s footprint, but the attitudes of workers and customers who interact with your business.
- Greenify your operations
Evaluate your routine operations and identify areas where you can improve sustainability. Can some of your employees work remotely to cut down on transport emissions? Can you make deliveries with bicycles instead ofvehicles? Can you make your products locally instead of overseas?
You’re likely to find that going green can actually save money for your business and improve your workplace culture at the same time.
As much as sustainability is a moral imperative there is a real business case for investing in it.
Not only can it boost your brand, it can attract customers, while also reducing your operating costs and increasing your profit margins.
By becoming a more sustainable business you can demonstrate your commitment to a healthy and safe future for your community, customers and future generations.