The shape of a successful business has changed over the years. Where profit was once the primary focus of a company’s success, now businesses are tasked with integrating more sustainable practices into their overall plan. Not only will such a focus help reduce negative effects on our environment, but it will give your organization an edge in terms of client loyalty, make it easier to comply with state and federal regulations and even help with cutting costs and increasing productivity. Here are four easy sustainable business practices that can give your company the advantage in an evolving marketplace.
Limiting Single-Use Plastic
Single-use plastic is not only significantly harmful to our environment, but it’s also economically wasteful, with an estimated $80-120 billion lost each year in the production of plastic packaging that will only be used once. If your company distributes products contained within plastic packages, consider alternative sources like vegetable plastics, corn-based bioplastics or even chitosan, a material made from crustacean exoskeletons. Internally, you can supply employees with amenities that cut down on single-use plastics such as providing compostable utensils and cups in the breakroom, eco-friendly water coolers or ceramic/glass dishes for staff to wash and reuse.
Creating Incentives for Sustainability
Most people today are aware of our impact on the environment, and those who are aware generally want to do their part to help cultivate a healthier ecosystem. Creating a team dedicated to greener solutions within your organization is a great sustainable business practice that will not only help improve your company’s pro-environmental efforts, but will also give your employees a chance to become part of the conversation and feel motivated to make a difference while offering them an incentive to help your company go green.
Creating a token system can offer even more incentive. Employees who recycle, contribute innovative ideas towards sustainability or reduce their output of waste can receive tokens towards prizes like additional PTO.
Adopt a Non-Profit
An easy sustainable business practice for your company is to support a not-for-profit organization. Using your resources to give back to the community is one of the most responsible actions a company can take. Charity Navigator offers their list of environmental charities, including Environmental Defense Fund, 350.org, Friends of the Earth and Natural Resources Defense Council. Find and sponsor a non-profit that best fits your company values.
Sustainable Shipping Practices
In a global marketplace, the resources needed to send products to customers can contribute significant amounts of harmful waste and byproducts, which is why more eco-friendly shipping practices are so important for greener initiatives. Cut styrofoam from your list of packing materials and instead opt for corrugated inserts, starch cushioning or compostable mushroom packaging. Consider allowing customers who request a refund to keep low-value products instead of shipping them back, thus cutting back on fuel and other pollutants involved in returns. Size economy is another important factor, as the less space taken up on a shipping vessel, the more boxes can be carried per shipment. Look for custom packaging that can accommodate the size of your product so your goods aren’t taking up extra space or using excess materials.
And of course, always use recycled packaging. Our fully custom boxes made from 100% recycled materials offer all the options you need to support more sustainable business practices.
This article was written by our content freelancer, Sam Zell-Breier