Sustainability in business

How small businesses are going green.

Boiler engineer working to reduce his emissions and carbon footprint with a sustainability policy

As consumers become increasingly demanding for green alternatives, sustainability in business is becoming a priority for managers. How can your small business be more sustainable towards profitability?

A recent study by the FSB, the UK’s largest business group, revealed that whilst a clear majority (56%) believe that the planet is facing a climate crisis, only a third (36%) have a formal plan in place to combat climate change. 

Encouragingly, the report also showed that small businesses are looking to become more sustainable workplaces.   

- 67% have addressed energy usage 

- 64% have increased recycling efforts 

- 36% of small businesses in accommodation and food services stated that they have switched or plan to switch all or some of their fleet to zero-emission vehicles. 

In this blog we’re offering four steps of advice for small business owners so you can run a sustainable company and demonstrate your credentials. 

1. Support your local business 

Cut down on your carbon emissions by investing in local businesses for items such as your food and drink supplies. You may need to think about how it is produced, transported, prepared and disposed of. 

Eat local produce, or grow your own, to help reduce emissions in your supply chain. There are many Sustainable Food Hubs that are well placed to provide such infrastructure: as gatekeepers of values and standards, they select what produce to supply; embedded in their communities, they can respond to local need. 

2. Embrace an inclusive and fair workplace culture 

Business sustainability doesn’t stop at energy! Build a culture of diversity in the workplace during the hiring process and offer equal pay for work of equal value.  Make your workplace more accessible for disabled or vulnerable employees.  Ensure that management positions are offered to women and support parents of young children and dependents. 

Apprenticeship opportunities, work experience, mentoring or training programmes for those from disadvantaged backgrounds are all ways of supporting the local community and building a more inclusive workplace. 

Invest in the wellbeing of your employees, establish a zero-tolerance culture when it comes to violence, inequality and discrimination in the workplace, develop a living wage policy, and celebrate your investment. 

Champion flexible working  - encourage your team to work from home where appropriate. Working remotely not only allows your employees to prioritise their wellbeing and make healthier lifestyle choices; it also lowers energy consumption and reduces pollution caused by commuting. 

And finally, make your employees part of the solution.  Build a more effective and inclusive workplace strategy for business sustainability by engaging your staff. 

3. Use ethical & sustainable suppliers 

Look at who you’re banking with. What impact are they having on the climate crisis? 

Also look at using green energy when considering your gas and electric suppliers so that you can offset the carbon you use to minimise your environmental impact even further. At Clear Business, we offer 100% renewable business energy for SMEs and provide you with a certificate to prove your green status to your customers. Find out more here

Sustainability in the workplace doesn’t begin and end with how you operate as a business. It’s about supporting companies who also champion a green ethos and encourage you to do and be better. 

Look at the ways you can make your workplace more ‘green’ to improve employee wellbeing, boost your profile, reduce your carbon footprint and have more of a positive impact on the world. 

There are many simple switches you can make to ‘turn’ green:  

- Buy eco-friendly office supplies 

- Power equipment down at the end of the day. 

- Use energy-efficient bulbs. 

- Add plants to the rooms. 

- Reuse and repair resources instead of needlessly replacing them. 

4. Commit to tackling climate change 

As a small business you are in a privileged position to be able to take accountability for your actions. Have open conversations with your team, clients, suppliers, friends and family, about your goals and what you’re doing to reach them. Inspire others into action. 

And the further good news is that going green can also boost your profits!  Not only will you lower costs on your business electricity and gas but your small business will be more attractive when new customers and new employees are looking for a place that is more in tune with the world around us, and encourages you to act on your company values. -

Top tip

The SME Climate Hub provides support to help organisations to help you reduce your emissions, tackle your company carbon footprint, and share what you’re doing with your customers. 

Sustainable business practices contribute to the resolution of the climate crisis, making the world a safer, more diverse, and happier place to live and work. 

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