The team here at ScotPac New Zealand know exactly what it takes to run a business successfully. Our specialists have years of experience assisting small and medium sized enterprises access the financial solutions they need to ensure sustainable access to working capital.
In today’s world, however, there is more to consider than just financial sustainability. Environmental concerns are at the forefront of the minds of customers, consumers and business owners alike. As a small or medium sized business owner, implementing sustainability practices can not only help the planet, they can also save you money and even enhance your brand reputation.
Here are some of the many ways to make your business more sustainable.
1. Recycling Initiatives
From introducing reminders on your product packaging to encourage recycling to educating your employees to recycle paper, plastic and other materials, there are a lot of initiatives that you can explore.
Consider partnering with local recycling facilities and educating your team about the different opportunities available for responsible waste disposal. Where possible, encourage reducing waste and increasing reusing products where possible.
Unlike recycling, where waste materials are broken down to be reused, upcycling transforms waste or unwanted products into something of better, different, or higher value–sometimes even directly linked to benefitting the environment. Upcycling helps to create a more ‘circular economy’ and can help deliver value all the while conserving resources and reducing waste.
There are many upcycling initiatives and campaigns in New Zealand, so if you’re not sure how to incorporate this in your workplace, why not try and connect to an external project?
3. Sustainable Design
Consider looking for ways to design your products or services with longevity and reusability in mind. Whether there are opportunities to change the packaging of your goods, the production of specific items, or even adaptations to your service delivery processes, even small, incremental changes can be a huge difference to a business’s environmental footprint.
4. Upgrade Energy Systems
Upgrading the electrical appliances and systems your business uses can help you not just save the environment, but even money in the long run thanks to their enhanced energy efficiency.
From motion sensor lighting to optimise energy use for small businesses, solar panels for larger businesses, and even wind turbines for large scale industrial operations, there are many ways in which your organisation’s energy efficiency can be improved.
5. Eco-friendly Suppliers
There are multiple considerations that need to be taken into account when procuring suppliers. Adding sustainability and environmentally-friendly factors into your consideration can help you collaborate with suppliers who follow similar sustainable practices that you value and can help ensure your entire supply chain is as environmentally conscious as possible.
6. Water Conservation
Investing in water-efficient appliances for your team and your operations can make a significant impact on water conservation. Even fixing leaks promptly and installing rainwater harvesting systems can add up to significant improvements.
Host ongoing conversations with your team about the importance of water conservation and encourage mindful usage.
7. Green Transport Incentives
As a business owner, you can offer incentives for employees who choose to use greener modes of transport, whether this means public transport or bicycles.
Investing in charging stations for electric vehicles is another way you can show team members and customers alike that you’re committed to long term sustainability.
8. Promote Going Paperless
While going 100% paperless may not be realistic for many businesses, encouraging the reduction in paper usage is a good option. The advances in digital documentation has made this a lot easier in recent years, but there is still a long way to go.
You can implement cloud-based collaboration tools, provide technological alternatives to paper, and encourage the ongoing use of e-receipts and invoices for customers.
9. Education and Awareness
Creating awareness around sustainability and providing educational opportunities to help facilitate the transition to a more environmentally-friendly world is invaluable. Be transparent with your customers and employees about your values, what you’re doing to contribute to sustainability, and how they can get involved.
Open and honest conversation helps everyone to understand the issue, make informed decisions and fosters a strong, collective commitment to sustainability.
10. Invest in Sustainability
For small and medium sized businesses, there can be limited opportunity to make large-scale changes in the pursuit of increased sustainability. Nevertheless, there are opportunities to invest in verified projects and initiatives that are helping to drive down the rate of carbon emissions and improve sustainability practices in the market.
Speak to local conservation organisations and government bodies about how your business can get involved or support some of these important and critical projects. You may even choose to formally partner with a particular environmental charity or organisation and offer employees the chance to get involved.
11. Seek Certification
There are many ways in which you can raise your commitment to sustainability up a level in a meaningful way. Obtaining certification and officially accepting responsibility for your sustainable operations is a great way to walk the corporate social responsibility walk.
For more information regarding the different certifications available for businesses here in New Zealand, visit:
- The myNZTE website
- The Sustainable Business Network website
- The Ministry for the Environment website
12. Open to Continuous Improvement
Committing to sustainability is not about one-and-done initiatives. Regularly reassessing practices and setting ongoing goals for continuous improvement can ensure that your business is taking advantage of the latest eco-friendly technologies and most recent best practices to maximise positive impact.
Engage with your internal and external stakeholders to seek feedback on how to better improve your sustainability practices and initiatives.
ScotPac is here to support your business
There really is no one-size-fits-all approach to business sustainability. Every business owner will need to utilise their own creativity to craft its commitment to improving our impact on the environment in a way that works for them.
Together, our innovative approaches and initiatives can play a significant role in mitigating climate change and creating a greener, cleaner world for the future. At ScotPac, our lending specialists are always happy to engage with SMEs to find ways to help financially future-proof your business and empower you to pursue the sustainability initiatives that matter to you most.