Blog

30 July 2013

Sustainability is vital for businesses

Small businesses are being urged to think more about the environment and sustainability to protect themselves from serious problems in the future.

Small businesses are being urged to think more about the environment and sustainability to protect themselves from serious problems in the future.

Lowing your carbon footprint

Adam Read, Ricardo-AEA’s Resource Efficiency Practice Director, claims many small to medium sized enterprises have not come up with strategies to cope with the threats posed by volatile commodity markets. He argues that small businesses also need to think about ways to lower their carbon footprint and become more energy efficient.

He says: “We need to stop exporting materials, we need to start building more infrastructure to boost our energy and raw material security needs. As pressure comes from the big corporates, these companies will one day have to wake up to it else face supply chain disruption.

“We need to ask businesses, have you thought about commodity pricing, could you product substitute or close the loop?”

 Start-ups lagging behind

Research suggests small firms and start-ups are lagging behind in making sustainability improvements. One study showed that just 29% of SMEs had begun measures to use less energy or raw materials, compared to 46% of big businesses.
 
Becoming more sustainable will not only help protect the future of your business, it will also benefit its image. Having good green credentials is often looked at positively by customers.
 

Three steps to a greener business

So what can you do to become more environmentally-friendly?

  1. Recycle (more)
    Come up with a system to recycle more of your waste. Consider joining up with other businesses located near you or in the same business centre so you can organise for your recyclable waste to be collected together. Contact your local authority to find out if they are involved in any initiatives.
  2. Switch things off
    Make sure everyone involved in your business knows you want to lower your carbon footprint. Encourage them to turn off their computers when leaving the office. Turning lights off when rooms are not in use will also reduce your company’s energy consumption and electricity bill.
  3. Try to use energy efficient products
    Switching to energy efficient lighting can save you money. It is also worth looking at how efficient a product is when it comes to buying more equipment for your office or industrial unit.

 

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