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How to improve environmental sustainability in your business

Most small business owners understand why you need to be environmentally conscious and reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re in hospitality or retail, you’re probably already aware of Replace the Waste and the phasing out of many single use plastic products in South Australia.

Coupled with government legislation, more consumers are consciously choosing businesses that have eco-friendly practices or sustainable products and services.

Having sustainable practices in your workplace makes sense, environmentally and commercially. It’s easy to start small, implement a few changes and still make a difference.

Here are some ideas and links to resources to start you on your journey.

  1. Where in your business operations can you adopt more sustainable practices or methods?: These include reducing energy usage, minimising waste, using eco-friendly materials, and implementing environmentally friendly production processes.
  2. Do an environmental audit: This will help you benchmark where your operations currently sit, identify opportunities to reduce your impacts and importantly, demonstrate accountability to customers, vendors and government.
  3. Sustainability starts at the source: Where do you source your goods and materials from? How local are your suppliers? Can you reduce your transportation costs? Are your materials manufactured by ethical suppliers who pay their employees fair and liveable wages? Do they integrate environmental performance in the production? Are they made with recyclable, renewable or biodegradable materials?.
  4. Being in South Australia, you’re likely already experienced at recycling: Are you doing enough? What about offering point-of-sale recycling to your customers? Can you value-add to their business with you?
  5. Are you in touch with other businesses in your community or industry sector about what changes they have made?: What about sharing lessons learned? By partnering with local businesses, you can share sustainability ideas and solutions.
  6. Local environment groups also have lots of ideas and can be a great resource, connect with one near you: Joining forces increases knowledge sharing, builds networks and can lead to new customers and importantly, positive recommendations.
  7. Talk to your employees: they may have great ideas and you want sustainable thinking to be part of your company culture.
  8. Finally, set some goals, a realistic timeframe and a way to measure and monitor your progress: Celebrate and promote what you are doing externally through your website, newsletters, and social media. These goals build trust and empowers customers to make informed choices and fosters loyalty.

Climate change poses financial challenges for small business, but these are risks that can be managed by being proactive.

Embracing sustainability, innovating products or services, collaborating with others and being open with your customers are simple steps that all businesses, no matter the size and type you run, to thrive financially and contribute to a more sustainable future.

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