Sustainability has become a critical consideration for businesses aiming to gain a competitive edge in today’s world. This article, published by our partner Ecologi, sheds light on how incorporating sustainable practices for businesses into the mix can help you stay ahead of the game in 2023 and beyond.
Both of last year’s COP summits made it pretty clear that we can’t rely on governments alone, and we really need to count on businesses to step up and take a leading role in tackling climate change. Reassuringly, 96% of businesses feel increasing pressure to become more sustainable. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but with a little effort, the rewards for business are plentiful:
✅ Boost competitive advantage
✅ Boost brand
✅ Attract talent
✅ Please stakeholders
✅ Save time
✅ Save money
✅ Save the planet!!!
The list goes on….
When businesses put sustainability in their plans, the list of wins really does go on and on. Both for the planet and for their own commercial success. A McKinsey Global Survey recently found that 83% of C-suite leaders and investment professionals believe ESG programs will generate more shareholder value in five years’ time than they do today.
Sustainable business strategies like reducing emissions and waste production, offsetting unavoidable emissions, and limiting the use of energy, water and raw materials, can massively reduce costs. And, as governments incentivise investment in decarbonisation, businesses can boost revenue by expanding into profitable new markets while enjoying tax benefits and capital allowances (e.g. tax credits, business deductions, and government subsidies).
Sustainability is great for the bottom line, but it also works wonders for the brand too. As consumers are increasingly making decisions based on the environment, sustainable practices for businesses can become a main source of competitive advantage. Loyalty, reputation and ultimately sales can shoot up, and the best people will want to come and work for you. Two-thirds of UK employees have said they’d be more likely to work for an organisation that has strong environmental values.
We’d hope that no right-minded business would want to turn that juicy list of benefits down, but putting sustainability into practice can take a little guidance, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who don’t have bottomless budgets to throw at expensive consultants. We’re here to help!
A British Business Bank survey found that SMEs contribute half of all business-driven emissions in the UK. So we really need SMEs in particular to step up and do their bit for the planet.
The most effective way for SMEs to tackle climate change is to rapidly decarbonise their supply chains, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and eventually get to net-zero.
Here’s some of the best ways to get started on that journey:
🚛 Sustainable supply chain
Supply chains hold the key, as for a typical business they can account for up to 80% of an organisation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The key is to map out the whole supply chain, from where the raw materials come from, to what factory makes the products, to how waste is disposed of. This process can take a long time, but it’s worth it. You can then look at greening your supply chain with the help of companies like Reboxed and Globechain to buy pre-owned business items, or Firstmile to sustainably dispose of your waste. Another quick win is to use renewable energy suppliers like ecotricity and ovo energy. Alongside reducing emissions, there’s plenty more a business can do to reduce its impact on the environment.
💷 Ethical banking
Money talks, and simply putting yours into an ethical bank will get you off to a flying start. Banks globally have provided $2.7 trillion in financing for fossil fuels since the 2015 Paris Agreement, and banking for fossil fuels rose $736 billion in 2019 alone. Your bank could be using your money to finance environmental degradation in the form of fossil fuels, deforestation and extractive mining without you knowing, but ethical banks like Triodos will always use it to support a better future.
🌐 Green web hosting
If you’re just starting out, choose a sustainable business like create.net to design and build your website. You can then host that website on servers that run on renewable energy with a provider such as Krystal hosting, who use 100% green energy for all their operations and data centres.
👣 Carbon footprinting
If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so it’s crucial to get an accurate picture of your carbon footprint. When you know where your emissions are hiding you can take the right actions to reduce them. That’s where Ecologi Zero comes in. It’s our free carbon footprinting tool, designed specifically for service-based SMEs. Ecologi Zero integrates with Xero accounting software to quickly and simply provide a snapshot of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and get you going on the path towards net-zero.
💚 Climate Positive Workforce®
At Ecologi, we also offer a simple way to keep the planet in mind by offering a perk that your employees will love. Sign up as a Climate Positive Workforce and offset the approximate emissions of your team’s personal and professional lives by funding certified carbon avoidance projects, supporting the planting of real trees every month, setting climate action goals for your business and earn badges to proudly share your efforts with your customers.
🌱 Funding climate action with Ecologi
Plant trees or fund climate action for every sale or customer using our Shopify or Zapier integrations. The options and ideas for integrating climate action into your business are infinite with our Ecommerce integrations. They’re convenient and simple to set up. You can also get started with a free pay-as-you-go account with Ecologi, and manually add trees to your company forest or support climate whenever you choose. You can even add a badge to your website, showing your positive climate impact and the trees you’ve planted so far, as well as joining our leaderboard of businesses with the highest number of trees funded for planting.
Net-zero is where we all need to be headed, and our aim is to make that journey as simple and effective as possible. Together we must reach net-zero by 2050, or we’ll exceed the Paris Agreement’s targets and there will be no going back from some of the worst impacts of climate change.
Now is our chance to rewrite the future. Do it for your business. Do it for our planet.
Established in 2019, Ecologi’s core mission is to reduce carbon emissions and create a sustainable future for all. To achieve this, Ecologi works with individuals and businesses, empowering them to offset their carbon footprints through innovative projects that effectively remove carbon from the atmosphere.
With the recent launch of Ecologi Zero, they can now help service-based SMEs account for their emissions, paving the way for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.
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