Going green was once thought of as a bit of a fad for hippies, green activists and students. Those days are long gone and living a more ethical and sustainable life is now part of our everyday routine. We buy organic, we forego disposable cups in favour of a KeepCup for our morning coffee and use a reusable water bottle at the gym. We find out where our clothes are manufactured and we choose ethical, sustainable brands when it comes to the goods and services we buy and use.
Going green doesn’t need to cost big bucks, and even small businesses and entrepreneurs can make the green switch. Small and growing companies can continue to operate lean budgets while creating ethical and sustainable business values and practices.
Minimise your packaging
Selling online or instore? If you are a product based small business, take some time to look at your packing and postage operations. Yes, you may have fancy scented paper wrapping your products and foam pellets and plastic air pillows to protect your goods, but do you need it all? Are the boxes too big? Can you use recycled paper or other material to wrap your products? Can your delivery boxes be reused and recycled? Is there a way you can leave a message for customers to let them know you operate a green packaging and delivery service? If customers feel that they are doing good, they’ll want to share it. A creative message or label in the package will be too cute not to share and voila! You have free marketing and some social media shares.
Choose a green partner
If you’re a small business, start-up or a solo entrepreneur it’s unlikely you’ll have time, resources or a budget to roll out a detailed green strategy. A good alternative is to join forces with a green partnership or affiliate. Greenfleet is a great way to offset carbon emissions and if you can get Planet Ark accreditation for your product, happy days! You can also join programs such as CitySwitch which is a government initiative acknowledging businesses who operate green offices. For little investment, your company can become associated with well known green organisations and be able to use their logos and branding on your website and social media platforms.
Clear out the office!
You must be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo and her tidy global tidal wave. All of a sudden, being tidy and minimalist is an excellent thing! Clear out your storeroom and donate, sell, upcycle and recycle what you don’t need. Organise a waste collection and an e-waste drive and set up a battery collection point and recycle bin for your ink cartridges. A clean, fresh workspace will encourage you and your staff to think twice about cluttering up the place with stuff you don’t need.
Think about green transport
If you use a courier or regular delivery service, think about using a man in a green van! Search for transporters who backfill their trucks and trailers, this means that every trip is maximised and jobs are booked on the return journey filling any available space. Backloading is a great way to reduce the number of trucks and vans out on the road, with reduced emissions and less KM’s used.
Plastic Free Office
Join the movement to ban single-use plastic in your office such as water bottles and straws. Install a zip tap for filtered water and purchase some branded KeepCups and Reusable water bottles. Not only will they be used every day by your staff, but they’re great marketing items which will stay on desks and in the eye-line of your customers if given as a gift. Promote that you’ve implemented a plastic ban on your social media and marketing to show your customers that you don’t just talk the talk, you walk the plastic-free walk!
There you have it, five easy to implement initiatives which make going green for small business easy, achievable and most importantly, with measurable impact. Starting green and implementing green and sustainable processes at the beginning of a business embeds and underpins your ethical and sustainable values as your business begins to grow.
About the Author
Jordan Panos is the founder of environmentally minded delivery service platform, ecoloads.com.au. Recently awarded the Westpac Business of Tomorrow Award, ecoloads connects customers who need something moved, with transporter's who have the means to pick up and deliver.
The ecoloads mission is to save you costs and cut down CO2 emissions by optimising vehicle spare capacity. Ecoloads has also partnered with Green Fleet to push real climate action, ensuring their 1200+ transporters Australia-wide are keeping it green.