Regardless of whether you’re a small business or a huge chain retailer, it’s time to assess your environmental impact. According to the United Nations, making the move to a greener economy “could yield a direct economic gain of $26 trillion through 2030 compared with business-as-usual.” The growth in becoming more sustainable is clear and it’s not just for the economy overall, but also for individual businesses.
Consumer habits are changing and causes such as sustainability are becoming a critical factor in purchase decisions. Retail is an extremely competitive industry. While there will always be a battle over price and quality, a deciding factor for choosing between two businesses could be who is more environmentally conscious.
With that in mind, here are some ways businesses can adapt more eco-friendly policies and procedures.
This may not be possible for some roles, but following the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re now much more aware of what can be done at home. Not only does it provide employees with a healthy work-life balance, but it helps the environment too. By working from home, there will be fewer cars on the road, reducing commuting times and less carbon dioxide emissions. It may seem like a small change but it can go a long way to helping the environment while also benefiting your employees with a more flexible and balanced work life.
Waste is inevitable within any business, but it’s important to keep it to a minimum. To do this, it’s best to go for items that can be recycled and/or reused. Opt for recyclable paper if you do a lot of printing and think about eco-friendly inks. Also, look at how your waste can be reused. Shredded paper can be useful for packaging and providing some extra support and protection. Instead of disposable cups and plates, ensure there are enough ceramic alternatives and encourage employees to bring in their own reusable water bottles.
You also need to think about the lifecycle of your products and what happens to them and their packaging when it reaches your customers. Consumers are making a conscious effort to avoid purchasing from companies that provide excess packaging, so avoid creating unnecessary waste when packing and shipping your products.
Packaging is a big one. So much packaging ends up in landfill unnecessarily. This is mostly down to materials being used that aren’t recyclable or take a long time to decompose, such as plastic. The number one thing businesses can do to be more environmentally friendly is to use recyclable packaging. Preferably, opt for cardboard boxes and biodegradable void fill if extra protection is needed.
It’s also important to choose a packaging manufacturer who expresses the same concerns for the environment as your business. This ensures ethical and sustainable production practices.
Using recyclable packaging is a start but you can go one step further with your packaging design. Be sure to include information on your packaging on how it can be recycled and/or reused. This ensures that there are no blurred lines as to the type of packaging used and is also a good way to communicate with your customers about your brand values and stance on sustainability.
Offset Your Emissions
Here at ASC Direct, we plant one tree for every 1000 boxes manufactured by us. We do this in partnership with One Tree Planted and is our way of making sure we give back to the environment.
If making changes to your current business practices isn’t possible but you still wish to become a more sustainable company, you can choose to offset your emissions by donating to a charity or cause that does environmental or conservation work.
The time is now. Businesses need to make these adjustments immediately in order to see positive change. For all packaging-related queries, speak to one of our team today who can set you up on the path to sustainability.