10 sustainable business tips

The Sustainable Business Resource | Business Action | North Devon business news

The Sustainable Business Resource is a North Devon-based organisation connecting SMEs with the tools required to reduce their carbon footprint and improve sustainability in all possible aspects of operations. Working as part of the Plastic Free North Devon charity, it will run a full assessment of your business and then lay out a plan of action to tackle every aspect from a sustainable point of view, helping you, target, source and measure change.

Below are 10 sustainable business tips to help you improve sustainability in your business – you can find more tips and advice on a range of business topics in this Business Boost section and in our North Devon Startup & Business Development Guide in print and online.

1. Include your people

Include and engage your staff.  Without bringing your staff along with you on the process of change and improvement, the journey will be twice as long and twice as hard. 

2. Draw up a list

Create a hit list of all the areas that need improving and, regardless of how challenging they are, give them target dates for completion. Start with the lowest hanging fruit and be realistic about time.

3. Measure progress

Assess and record all the areas where you are working to improve so you can report your improvements to your staff, stakeholders and customers with facts and figures.

4. Assign roles

Appoint key staff members to work on specific targets, eg packaging, energy etc. Most importantly, apportion a suitable amount of time per week to make this happen. Asking them to fit it into an already overloaded week will never work.

5. Explain your aims

When measuring cost of change, factor in the longer term benefits and returns in regard to staff and customer engagement and allegiance. In most cases, if your costs have to rise, explain the reasons behind this and your customers will be more likely to accept them.

6. Assess all changes

For each area of proposed change, complete a full and honest appraisal before embarking on the change. Can the savings from some of the changes be used to offset the additional costs for others?

7. Collaborate

Work with your suppliers to help them understand that you need information on how they operate along with certification of materials and sources. Bring them along on the journey with you.

8. Network

Network with your industry, find out who has done what and how, work with specialists to cut down the time on research, and share your results and findings so others can benefit too.

9. Raise awareness

Tell your customers what you are planning and what you have achieved. At every level, in every industry, customers are choosing to work with responsible companies first. 

10. Plan sustainably

Recognise sustainability as a key part of all your business planning. Factor it in at the beginning of any new design or project to recognise both the material cost and ecological cost when deciding which product / service to buy.

• Details 01271 311104 or thesbr.org.uk