Sustainability in the business world means different things. The way that small businesses practice sustainability can be drastically different from how a large company does. If you are interested in finding and supporting businesses that practice sustainability, look for these things that businesses could be doing.
Using Renewable Resources
Using renewable resources, such as installing a solar panel system, is one way that businesses can practice sustainability. This is a tool that can be scaled up the larger the business is. Restaurants or shops can install solar panels on the roofs of their properties and take advantage of tax rebates and other financial incentives while lowering their carbon footprint.
Solar panels in these settings can either supplement electricity from traditional sources or allow the owner to go off the grid. Larger businesses can also install roof panels or, if they have the property, can put in a solar panel farm of many dozens of panels.
Committing To Using Recycled Materials In Their Products
Some companies, especially ones that manufacture products, have committed to find greener materials or to use recycled materials to help cut down on the waste that our consumerist society creates. They can also use green energy in the manufacturing process.
These companies are making sustainability in manufacturing a key component of their mission statement and you can feel secure that they are working hard to cut down on waste and emissions.
Train And Listen To Employees
Many of the ideas that are leading to sustainability changes in businesses are coming from regular employees. Whether it is a retail employee or a factory worker, these employees can have a better idea of what the company can do on a day to day level to improve the sustainability practices of the business than employees in the corporate office.
If the company has fostered a sense of collaboration and respect towards all employees, lower level ones will feel comfortable about approaching management with ideas. This can lead to innovation throughout the company that helps it do greener business.
Practicing Sustainable Design
Fast fashion has become a major problem with a huge environmental impact. More than anytime in human history, people are purchasing huge amounts of clothes every year only to throw them away after a few wears. One driver of this is the ability to produce cheap clothing overseas.
Buyers see cheap clothing as disposable, but a lot of resources go into making these clothes, including water, electricity and human energy. Clothing companies that commit to making long-lasting clothing with a smaller environmental impact can do a lot to change our relationship to fast fashion. Although this clothing has a higher up front price, since it lasts longer, it has a smaller per wear price.
Sustainable Health And Wellness
Employee sustainability is another overlooked form of sustainability. Life is stressful and people are feeling overworked and burned-out. Businesses that recognize the need for rest and rejuvenation can get more out of their employees. Providing wellness programs can improve motivation and personal productivity.
Have Partnerships With Local Green Initiatives
Lots of small and large businesses will partner up with local environmental groups or government organizations that encourage environmental sustainability. If you are looking for sustainable business to patronize, look at the websites of environmental groups or the chamber of commerce and see which businesses work with them.
If your community sponsors local sustainability fairs or farmer’s markets. Business will set up stalls to attract new customers and you can chat with them to see what sustainability practices they do.
More and more businesses are recognizing the importance of incorporating sustainability into their day to day work. If you feel that sustainability is important to you, patronizing these businesses will encourage them to keep these practices and may inspire other businesses to become sustainable.
As demand for these businesses grows, it will become standard business practice and will help reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources.
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