Can Small Business Be Sustainable?
For many people, April 22 became a symbol of the future. Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. The younger generation grows and develops understanding and embracing the concepts of environmental protection, practicing recycle and sustainable ways of life.
And for many businesses environmental and sustainability objectives become a part of strategic planning and development. It’s not a surprise that small businesses also consider changes to positively impact the environment. It is also a no-brainer that consumers became environmentally conscious and willing to invest in non-toxic, eco-friendly products for the benefit of their families and future generations. Today, businesses of all sizes are choosing more environmentally sustainable practices in response, and their customers are noticing.
The numbers speak for themselves:
1 in 3 consumers surveyed prefers eco-friendly options.
Almost 50% of top US companies and 60% of international companies are investing in strategies that reduce their environmental impacts. (This is a 7% increase between 2012 and 2018 when the survey took place)
68% of millennials surveyed purchased a product with an environmental benefit in the past 12 months.
63% of Americans surveyed hope businesses will take the lead to drive environmental change
Not only does eco-consciousness help you stay competitive in today’s market, but it sends a positive message of environmental awareness that helps elevate your brand.
As a small business owner, what should you pay attention to if your goal is to be eco-friendly?
1. Source from manufacturers who share your concern for the environment. Ask if your supplier uses recyclable, renewable materials, if they are fair and responsible in their trade and employment, consider looking for local suppliers to support the local economy and cut down transportation costs.
2. Times of excessive non-recyclable, multi-plastic packaging is in the past. For a small business, creativity is key. Be creative with your packaging: use sustainable, reusable, and recyclable materials as a statement of your brand and personality.
3. Include your environmentally friendly efforts in marketing campaigns: make sure to point it out on your websites and social media. You may be surprised to see how well your message would resonate with your potential customers.
All in all, the trend is clear – individuals and communities are moving towards supporting sustainable businesses. According to Rubicon, a 2017 survey by McKinsey found that “Nearly six in ten respondents say that their organizations are more engaged with sustainability than they were two years ago,” with more than eight in ten respondents working in consumer packaged goods, and three-quarters of those in infrastructure saying the same. Seventy percent of respondents said that their companies have some form of sustainability governance in place, compared to just 54 percent three years earlier