Businesses across industries have been shifting to make eco-friendly businesses. Such changes can benefit your business financially and achieve your financial goals, while also enabling you to differentiate yourself from competitors. Reports by EY and Nielsen cite that more than 60% of consumers are more inclined to buy a product or survey if it’s sustainable.
To become an eco-friendly business, you have to focus on decreasing the negative impact of your business on the environment. This can be achieved through incorporating sustainable business practices, supplying more green products or services, and becoming greener than conventional competitors.
Embrace greener methods of transportation
In the U.S., transportation accounts for 28 percent of overall greenhouse emissions. To reduce your business’s carbon footprint, you can encourage employees to use green means of transportation.
The greenest transport methods available are bikes and trains, which cut emissions by circa 75% and 80% respectively compared to car trips. Moreover, car-sharing initiatives––which allow the renting of cars without owning one––can decrease the number of cars on the road, ultimately reducing carbon emissions as well.
There are several ways you can incentivize employees to use greener modes of transport. You can purchase public transport passes for your employees, enable (short-distance) business travels through car sharing, and offer gift vouchers for sports equipment to encourage employees to walk or cycle.
Use sustainable packaging
Green packaging makes use of materials makes use of sustainable materials that don’t require a lot of energy to produce (or discard). These often include recyclable and biodegradable materials––as opposed to more harmful packaging materials like plastic. You can also save money by switching to a sustainable lifestyle.
The use of sustainable materials can have many advantages for your company. These can help reduce your carbon footprint, make disposal of packaging materials easier, and ultimately improve the way your brand is perceived by consumers. A survey conducted by the Recycled Paperboard Alliance found that 81% of consumers felt better about purchasing a product whose packaging constituted of such materials. Moreover, a separate study found that one-third of consumers cited environmentally friendly packaging as their most important purchase criterion.
To implement this change, there are several eco-friendly packaging materials you can use as viable alternatives for your products. Biodegradable air peanuts, cornstarch packaging, recycled cardboard and paper, and organic fabrics are some environmentally friendly packaging options that can be used.
Integrate eco-friendly values into the company
For long-term change towards greener company practices, sustainability has to be engrained within your company’s vision. The best way to do this is by making a green mission statement as part of your eco-friendly business’s overall company culture. Creating an environmental mission statement involves establishing your ‘why’s’ and goals for your green mission statement, and implementing these within your core values, core purpose, and long-term vision.
A 2019 study has found that the presence of a green organizational culture predicts a company’s green performance as well as its competitive advantage. Additionally, a separate study conducted on Turkish companies found that factors influencing sustainable practices have a positive relationship with the presence of a green organizational culture. As such, having a company culture that invests in green practices can help you reap the benefits of eco-friendly businesses.
Making the change
As a business that seeks to successfully reduce its carbon footprint, making the shift to becoming an eco-friendly company involves more than just making the switch away from plastic coffee cups. It requires a sustainable change in company values, business practices, and supply chain operations. While this may seem like a daunting venture, taking small steps over an extended period of time can make environmental sustainability an easy and accessible process.