Starting a business is an exciting time. It’s the beginning of something new, and you get to make all the decisions about how things will work. But if you want your business to be successful in the long term, you must think about sustainability from day one.
The truth is that most businesses are not sustainable by default. They rely on external resources like natural capital (supplies of water, soil fertility), human capital (labor), and social capital (trust).
And when these resources aren’t replenished or replaced as quickly as they’re used up, there can be serious consequences for people and communities near those businesses, not to mention climate change.
It doesn’t mean your business needs to stop using energy altogether, but it does mean you need to think about how you can reduce your environmental impact.
More specifically, here are 10 ways that businesses just like yours can reduce their footprint and save money in the process:
1. Audit Your Energy Use and Find Ways to Conserve
Businesses use a lot of energy that they can power hundreds of homes at any given time. However, they can also do a lot to conserve energy and save money in the process. An energy audit is one way to find out where your business is wasting the most energy and then make changes to fix it.
During an audit, you’ll create a detailed record of how much energy your business uses, where that energy comes from, and what all those appliances are doing. Based on the data, you can find ways to cut your electric bill.
For example, you can add smart power strips to sensitive equipment that only needs electricity during peak hours. You can also add insulation and other energy-efficient materials during building renovations or create a more efficient layout for your business space.
Your conservation efforts may start small, but you should see the results show up in your monthly utility bill. When you track it over time, you can use it to make future decisions about bigger changes or investments down the road.
2. Bring Some of Your Marketing Strategies Online
It’s no secret that businesses rely on advertising to get their messages out to the public. But traditional advertising methods like TV, radio, and print aren’t always sustainable because of the amount of resources they use.
For example, TV and radio commercials require airtime, which costs money. And print ads require paper, ink, and other resources that come from forests and other ecosystems.
That’s why many businesses are turning to online marketing strategies instead. Online marketing is a great way to reach a large audience without wasting resources. Plus, it can be more affordable than traditional advertising methods.
You can use many different online marketing strategies, including website design, social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing. Each can be a great way to reach potential customers while also reducing your business’s environmental impact.
To develop a highly targeted campaign, which also decreases the use of resources, focus on creating a digital brand strategy that connects you to the right audience.
3. Shop Locally for Your Office Supplies
We’re all familiar with the big-name office supply stores like Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max, but that’s not always the best choice for businesses that want to reduce their environmental impact.
Sometimes these stores offer large selections of products or discount deals on bulk quantities, but they also have a significant carbon footprint because they’re usually located far from where many people live. They also tend to use a lot of resources in manufacturing items that are shipped long distances to reach their stores.
Instead, try shopping locally for home supplies. Go online or call companies in your area to see if they sell the materials you need. That way, you can keep your business’s carbon footprint small without missing out on any savings.
Another idea is to consider purchasing used or refurbished office supplies instead of new ones, which will reduce your environmental impact even more. You can also look for leasing options when buying business equipment. You’ll be less likely to waste money on unnecessary products if you only choose leases with short terms that don’t make it hard for you to switch providers if something goes wrong.
No matter what industry your business is in, there are always ways to reduce its environmental impact. If you need help finding resources or figuring out how you can be more sustainable, consider hiring a consultant who specializes in helping businesses develop green strategies.