The scale of the climate crisis can seem overwhelming at times, especially for small businesses or organizations seeking to operate in a sustainable way. Lost within the mass of information available to us and the fastest ways for global governments to shift towards a net-zero approach, are the solutions available for the entities that are key to the economic transition . Believe it or not, sustainability is relatively easy to attain, and one thing entrepreneurs tend to forget is that it is not an all-or-nothing approach – small steps towards achieving larger goals often have a larger impact [2, 3]! Below you will find a range of steps any business can take to reduce their environmental impact.
The two major drivers of any business are the customers and the workforce, as such, their input is critical to developing positive company policy and understanding what steps can be taken. Likewise, organizations have a responsibility to educate stakeholders and consumers alike, creating educational campaigns and programmes tailored for each can go a long way in improving local communities’ understanding of climate issues [3-5].
From reducing electricity consumption, using recycled materials, generating less waste or finding ways to reduce staff travel, there are a wide range of small steps a business can take to reduce its environmental impact . Other steps include installing LED lighting, improving recycling, replacing single-use items with reusable options, and swapping to renewable energy sources .
Subsidies & Investments
Larger expenses such as installing smart-meters that monitor power consumption, business-based heating and renewable energy production, and effective insulation have limited many businesses’ ability to transition. However, most local governments have subsidies and schemes aimed at supporting sustainable business operations . Opportunities abound for entities seeking to make small changes and scale up their efforts, and high up-front costs are worthwhile investments .
An often overlooked part of business operations is supply chains, which for certain entities represent a much higher footprint than the business itself . To this end, liaising with suppliers to discuss the best pathway for sustainable operations will be the best option. For businesses with integrated supply chains, a shift to electric vehicles, reducing packaging, and a combination of the above steps will yield strong results.
Sometimes the best way to set and reach sustainability goals is to bring in outside help specialized in making businesses more environmentally friendly. Armed with experience, expertise in their subject matter, relevant collaborators and partners, sustainable agencies can be key in unlocking a business’ potential. Have you ever wondered about the sustainable opportunities hiding in plain sight?
- Sustainability is not an all-or-nothing approach – small steps towards achieving larger goals can have a larger impact [2, 3];
- The two major drivers of any business are the customers and the workforce, their input is critical to sustainable policy [3-5];
- High up-front costs of sustainable technology and materials are worthwhile investments .
 Vincent Diringer, 2022, “Net-Zero: The Future of Sustainable Businesses”, LEAD-WiSE.
 Vincent Diringer, 2022, “Changing The Status Quo”, LEAD-WiSE.
 Wayne Elsey, 2022, “Small Steps For Big Impact: Getting Your Team Involved In Sustainability”, Forbes.
 Vincent Diringer, 2022, “Sustainable Change Through Education”, LEAD-WiSE.
 Vincent Diringer, 2022, “Dialogue Between Activists and Businesses – Key to Creating a Sustainable World”, LEAD-WiSE.
 NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, 2022, “What can I do to make my small business more sustainable?”, New South Wales Government.
 Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO, 2022, “How to make your business operations sustainable”, Government of the Netherlands.
 Paul Polman and Andrew Winston, 2022, “Yes, Investing in ESG Pays Off”, Harvard Business Review.
 Eloise Barry, 2021, “As More Companies Make Net-Zero Pledges, Some Aren’t as Good as They Sound”, Time Magazine.