There are a million reasons why implementing eco-friendly practices can benefit your start-up.
However, when it comes down to it, three reasons come out on top – it’s good for the planet, it’s good for your brand and it’s good for business.
According to a BDC report, half of Canadians are more inclined to buy environmentally-friendly products. Furthermore, 75% of consumers would pay more for products and services from a socially responsible company and 90% of consumers would stop buying from a company using irresponsible practices.
Your stakeholders will be nothing short of impressed by your efforts to reduce your ecological footprint. Plus, not only will you see the benefits, you will also be leading by example in your industry and it will help encourage others to do the same.
If you’re looking to go green, here are four effective ways you can make your start-up more eco-friendly:
1. Don’t let your waste go to waste
Every business inevitably produces waste but there are a few easy things you can do to reduce the amount.
Before anything, ensure your storefront or office space has a bin for recyclables, non-recyclables and compost. You could even go even further and add a compost bin. For example, at the Futurpreneur Canada national office in Toronto, local (and Futurpreneur-supported!) business Wastenot Farms regularly collects the office’s compost box to feed their worms.
Not only does working with Wastenot Farms help Futurpreneur manage office food waste in a sustainable way, we’re also contributing to our local economy by supporting a Toronto small business (win-win)!
Some other way to reduce office waste are limiting your paper use and switching to recyclable printer ink cartridges. Additionally, many office suppliers have more sustainable purchasing and recycling options, so be on the lookout! For example, Staples offers recycling services for everything from electronics to writing instruments and business like the GreenPrinter uses recycled paper for their products.
2. Create a “green” company culture
Promoting sustainable practices to employees may seem like a given, but it is also a way to boost employee engagement.
For example, you could encourage your employees to carpool, walk or bike to work instead of driving and use reusable containers for lunch. However, you could go even further by allowing employees to work from home. This is especially helpful for employees that have long commutes, as it saves them the gas-guzzling trip to the office (and can even boost morale!).
Lastly, to get your team’s creative juices flowing, you could create a “green” suggestion box for employees to pitch their own eco-friendly project ideas.
3. Work with “green” partners
Running a sustainable business is great, but it’s a little hypocritical to then work with other companies that aren’t so committed to ethical practices. For example, a retail store may have its own green practices but if it sources its merchandise from “fast-fashion” clothing brands, this completely contradicts its commitment to sustainability.
Consumers these days are more mindful about the companies they support, so do your research before partnering up! An easy way to find socially-conscious businesses to work with is through the B Corp network. B Corporations are for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency so you know that when you partner with one of these companies, they are just as committed to sustainable practices as you are.
4. Invest in better technology
Even if it means raising the prices of your products or your services, investing in energy-efficient tech and biodegradable supplies are worth it in the long run.
For example, if you run a coffee shop, most customers won’t mind paying a little more for a compostable cup if it means their purchase is helping to reduce waste. Another example is investing in eco-friendly lighting for your storefront. Traditional lighting consumes a lot of energy and needs to be replaced frequently, whereas LED light fixtures can last for years and help you save on energy costs.
There’s always room for improvement in every business model and it starts with thinking beyond today. As an entrepreneur, you have the power to make smarter choices for future generations.
Written by: Sara Pivato, Social Media & Content Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada