How Can SMEs Tackle Sustainability Challenges?

RA Republic
May 4 · 4 min read

Small or medium-sized enterprise leaders have to consider several factors to ensure that they remain in a strong position as their business grows. As every penny counts, keeping sustainability goals in check may not always be at the forefront of management’s mind, especially in the current difficult economic conditions. However, with the United Kingdom sharing a global vision to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030, it’s vital that companies commit to the mission.

Sustainability can fit in well with overall business targets. Let’s take a look at how firms can overcome initial challenges to get on the right track.

Embrace remote working

Working from home has become a necessity for many over the last year due to the global health crisis. However, with this move, there are unprecedented sustainability benefits. The Carbon Trust previously shared that increasing the numbers of UK workers being based remotely could save more than three million tonnes of carbon a year. Moreover, there are significant monetary savings in this field. The group adds that £3 billion a year could be saved for employers and employees.

There are undoubtedly cases where not every employee can be based from home. However, if it’s not essential for a worker to come into the office each day, there are considerable savings to be had. Notably, the nation has shown that it can adapt.

Become a B Corp

B Corps are companies that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. They are voluntarily certified every two years by an international non-profit organisation.

“Certifying as a B Corporation goes beyond product- or service-level certification. B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how your company’s operations and business model impact your workers, community, environment, and customers. From your supply chain and input materials to your charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp Certification proves your business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance,” B Corporation says on its website.

“Positive impact is supported by transparency and accountability requirements. B Corp Certification doesn’t just prove where your company excels now — it commits you to consider stakeholder impact for the long term by building it into your company’s legal structure. B Corps set the gold standard for good business and inspire a race to the top, creating performance standards and legal structures being used by thousands of other businesses around the world.”

A perfect time to become certified as a B Corp is when a firm is still growing. This is because the move provides a great framework for the long-term future.

Use the right energy

A simple but highly effective move to increase sustainability within a business is to choose a green energy supplier. There is an abundance of choices out there, with several energy firms offering green solutions at competitive prices. However, it’s important to choose carefully, as many suppliers don’t have the best balance and still feature black energy heavily in their offerings.

T3 expresses that the current best green energy supplier in the country is Bulb. This renewable energy outfit provides 100% green electricity. It also offers 10% green gas and the rest is offset through carbon reduction projects, making it 100% carbon neutral.

Moreover, certain companies can apply to get payments from their energy supplier if they generate their own electricity. For instance, they can produce power with solar panels or a wind turbine. This is called a ‘feed-in tariff’ (FIT). So, this would be a great way to go green while adding extra value to the business.

It all adds up

Even if your office only hosts a dozen people, the number of disposable items used on a daily basis can lead to significant amounts of waste. With this in mind, implement sustainable policies for everyday items such as food and beverage containers. Ultimately, the best choice would be to encourage workers to consume out of their own reusable cups, mugs, bowls, and plates. However, in instances where this may not be feasible, such as with a guest water cooler, there are modern solutions.

Manufacturers such as VEGWARE specialise in plant-based compostable foodservice packaging. They have an extensive range of eco catering disposables made from renewable, lower carbon, or recycled materials. Moreover, all these products can be composted with food waste and the cost of purchase won’t break the bank.

Promote the lifestyle

Altogether, making a change will only happen if you lead by example. By showing positive sustainability habits in your regular routine, others will follow. You can also incentivise environmental decisions by introducing related schemes. For example, Cyclescheme enables employees to save up to 39% of the price of a new bike and accessories while also spreading the cost. This program is completely free to join and easy to implement. Initiatives such as this will help to promote a lifestyle shift across the company. Change won’t happen overnight, but the key is to keep going. By the time the next decade comes around, the efforts will be worth. We will look back at our combined decision to take action to curb environmental damage and preserve the world that we live in.

RA Republic

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RA Republic

We love to help inspire the progression of innovative ideas. Follow us for quirky, creative and insightful content to help you on your own personal business journey.

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