The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

How To Make Your Small Business Sustainable

In today’s world, being environmentally friendly is not just a trend; it’s a necessity. While larger corporations often dominate discussions on sustainability, small businesses play a crucial role in creating a greener future. As a matter of fact, in 2021 there were 32.5 million small businesses in the United States that made up 46.8 percent of the private workforce, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Small Business Administration. This makes it all the more important to fully embrace environmental responsibility. Still think your small business can’t help?

Infographic that shows how sustainability affects consumer buying behavior. Source: Greenbiz

Negative Impacts By Big Business

Over the years, big businesses have undeniably had a negative impact on the environment. Large-scale industrial operations, excessive resource consumption, and unsustainable practices have led to pollution, habitat destruction, and climate change. Extracting natural resources through deforestation or mining activities has resulted in the loss of precious ecosystems and biodiversity. Industrial emissions, including greenhouse gases, have contributed to global warming and climate instability. In fact, just 100 of the largest companies are responsible for around 71% of the world’s emissions. The production and disposal of non-biodegradable waste have burdened landfills and polluted waterways.

It is important for big businesses to recognize their negative impact on the environment and take steps to mitigate it. However, it doesn’t mean that as a small business owner, you should feel powerless to help. In fact, doing so can be very beneficial and help your business thrive.

How Your Small Business Can Help

There are plenty of ways going green can help your small business. For one thing, a positive brand image goes beyond just profits. When your brand becomes known for its eco-friendly practices, it demonstrates to the world that you care about the environment. This resonates with customers who are passionate about sustainability, drawing them in and fostering customer loyalty.

Diagram showing that people, profit, and planet are the three pillars of sustainability in business. Source: CBI

Going green can lead to significant cost savings. By reducing energy consumption, managing waste efficiently, and streamlining operations, small businesses can cut costs in the long run. It’s like a secret perk of being environmentally friendly—a win-win situation for both the planet and your pocket.

Embracing environmentally friendly practices ensures regulatory compliance. Nobody wants to find themselves on the wrong side of the law. By adopting eco-friendly measures, small businesses can stay in line with environmental regulations and avoid penalties. It’s a way to protect your business while doing what’s right for the environment.

Choosing sustainability gives small businesses a competitive advantage. With an increasing number of consumers actively seeking out eco-conscious businesses, being environmentally friendly sets you apart from the competition. Embracing sustainability can attract a whole new audience of consumers who love supporting businesses that align with their values.

Good Rules of (Green) Thumb

“I understand now. I want to be more sustainable, but how?”

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. There are many ways to transform your small business into an eco-friendly powerhouse.

Infographic that shows four ways a small business can go sustainable.
  1. Energy Efficiency: Invest in energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting. It’s like upgrading to the latest tech, but greener! Additionally, adopt the simple habit of turning off lights and equipment when not in use. For those ready to take it to the next level, explore renewable energy sources like solar panels. Something like that is a fantastic way to show Mother Earth some love.
  2. Waste Reduction and Recycling: Ditch the paper trail and go digital. Embrace a paperless operation by using digital documentation and cloud-based storage. Your desk will thank you too! Implement a recycling program for various materials such as paper, plastic, and glass. That will ensure these items get a second chance at life. Encourage your team and customers to embrace reusable products, such as reusable shopping bags and eco-friendly packaging.
  3. Sustainable Supply Chain: Shop locally! Collaborate with nearby suppliers to minimize transportation emissions and support your local economy. Prioritize suppliers who align with your eco-friendly goals and follow sustainable practices themselves. Also, develop a sustainable procurement policy to make sure your purchases contribute to a greener future.
  4. Green Marketing: Don’t be shy, let the world know that you’re making a difference! Highlight your eco-friendly initiatives on your website, social media platforms, and all marketing materials. Inspire change by educating your customers about the benefits of supporting sustainable businesses and how they can contribute. And don’t forget to make your marketing materials eco-friendly too! Using recycled paper or refillable ink cartridges not only adds an eco-friendly touch to your marketing.

To learn more about how to reduce your carbon footprint, check out The Social Observer’s own Em Miville and their post about reducing plastic pollution in shipments.

Now Go Be a Hero!

Going green isn’t just for big corporations anymore—it’s for you too! By adopting eco-friendly practices, you can boost your brand image, save money, comply with regulations, and gain a competitive advantage. Just remember, the examples we discussed are just the tip of the iceberg. Keep exploring and finding new ways to make your small business a leader in sustainability. Together, we can create a sustainable future that benefits us all.

Category: Blogging, Personal Branding, Social Media Marketing 101

%d bloggers like this: