3 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve Sustainability

Small Business Sustainability
Image Source: Pexels

As an entrepreneur, you are likely to be aware of the great sense of responsibility that rests on your shoulders. From doing your due diligence for investors to ascertaining your fleet’s auto insurance provides sufficient protection against accidents, to making sure your staff get paid on time – you have to undertake a delicate balancing act. But small business owners also have a responsibility to the environment.

When it comes to major corporations, it can be more obvious where the issues may lie. Significant carbon emissions, failures in waste management. Big companies also tend to have access to capital that helps deal with these problems. That doesn’t mean small businesses can’t contribute to the issues in a manner that is both impactful and cost-effective.

As we face a state of climate emergency, it is important for each of us to make efforts to limit the damage. From a business point of view, it’s also worth noting that consumers are frequently vigilant about choosing companies that exude a sense of social responsibility. We’ll take a look at a few ways you can make your company more sustainable.

Smart Gadgets

Over the last couple of decades, technology has advanced significantly. Between the cognizant Internet of Things (IoT) and smartphones, we have embraced tech in almost every aspect of our lives. As a result, the market has also seen the introduction of a plethora of gadgets that can help your business improve its environmental impact.

One aspect of sustainability that remains prevalent is waste management. There are now various examples on the market of smart trash cans and dumpsters, which are even being utilized to make smart cities a reality. Technology within each receptacle monitors the accumulation of trash in real-time and provides data to help administrators improve their waste management approach.

If your company focuses on manufacturing, the IoT can also help you track the life-cycle of your products. Sensors can be placed throughout the production line, monitoring such aspects as temperature fluctuations during production, speed of progress, even the wear and maintenance requirements of machines. Using this data, your company can gain an insight into areas of unnecessary waste and carbon expenditure, and make adjustments accordingly.

Transportation

Between product deliveries and company cars, transportation can have a significant impact on business sustainability. It’s not just the fuel expenditure, either – the age of a vehicle can have an impact on the environment, as can how you dispose of perishable items such as batteries. Thankfully, there are approaches that can limit your footprint.  

Even something as relatively minor as your employees’ journey to work is worthy of consideration. Encourage car-pooling rotas, or even company subsidized public transportation. This approach can also have a beneficial financial effect on staff who utilize pay-per-mile car insurance for their journeys. It may even be worth considering allowing employees to work remotely a couple of days a week, cutting down on the emissions expended traveling to and from the office.

Small businesses can also make an impact on their company vehicle choices. Electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming more affordable options. However, it is also worth monitoring how those vehicles are used. Make route planning a priority – take time to map out the most efficient, low-emission journeys. If you have a fleet, utilizing electronic logging devices (ELDs) can help provide you with data that can assist in making climate-sound logistics choices for your deliveries. 

Energy Efficiency

In the US today, about 40% of all energy consumed is attributed to the generation of electricity. As this is one of the primary utility expenditures of most small businesses, there is scope to make an impact upon the environment through energy efficiency.

Switching to LED lights is a practical and cost-effective method for small businesses to improve their sustainability. They tend to last much longer than incandescent bulbs – providing up to 50,000 hours of illumination – and they reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Smart lighting is also proving to be an effective solution. IoT devices fitted to light fixtures can monitor room traffic and occupancy, adapting according to the current need of the location. 

Attention should also be given to other types of energy expended by your business. Take a responsible approach to temperature regulation and HVAC usage. Seal heating and cooling ducts audit the premises for sufficient insulation. Even taking efforts with your vehicles, such as jump-starting your car to improve battery life, may help cut down on unnecessary wastage.

Conclusion

We are facing a time of climate crisis, and it is important that we each take steps to improve our impact upon the environment. Small business owners can implement solutions that address their responsibilities to both the world at large and the profitability of their business. Between adopting smart energy solutions, and intelligently analyzing vehicle logistics, significant strides can be made by entrepreneurs.