World Environment Day was a timely reminder for small business owners to consider the sustainability of their operations. Sustainable practices generate efficiencies, reduce costs and create a healthier workplace.
They’re also increasingly important in finding and retaining talent. DocuSign research found that more than half of Singaporean PMETs (87 per cent) found that their company has become more eco-friendly as a result of the pandemic. And 78 per cent of workers in Singapore agree that they want their employer to do more for the environment.
Environmental concerns are convincing more people to support businesses with a proven record of social responsibility. If you’re a small business owner that’s unsure of how to start, here are five ways to make your business more sustainable:
1. Go digital
The new Chief Technology Officer (CTO)-as-a-Service scheme announced by the government is designed to help small businesses go digital. Through this, firms will receive both digital consultancy and project management services to identify needs and solutions, as well as manage project implementation. This is an opportunity to help your business grow while reducing its environmental impact. These digital services include website development and selling online, social media and digital marketing, using small business software, online security and data privacy.
Digital tools like DocuSign help businesses become more sustainable. Employees don’t have to be at a specific location or near a printer to manage documentation. Moving to a paperless office takes time, commitment and investment, but it makes your processes more efficient and fosters an eco-friendly workplace.
2 Use the green web
Web servers hosting website data use a lot of energy. Green web providers are hosting companies committed to reducing their carbon footprint. They do this by using renewable energies to power their data centres or donating to renewable energy programs. The best green web hosts combine environmentally friendly methods with premium features.
3 Invest in carbon offsets
Carbon offsetting brings many benefits, including more trees, cleaner waterways and further investment into clean energy. Some carbon offsetting programs also offer the chance to specify the project you’d like your payment to go on. During your research phase, make sure to check for third-party certification and learn about the projects where investments are being made.
4. Choose sustainable suppliers
Many sustainable goods are cheaper and more cost-effective in the long run than conventional alternatives. Source sustainable items for the office, such as organic bathroom and kitchen products, biodegradable cleaning products and recycled stationery. These items create a circular economy and reduce waste. Think about how far goods travel to reach you. Is there a local business offering similar products that would reduce the carbon footprint?
Seek out suppliers offering eco-friendly solutions, such as recycled paper and cardboard or bioplastic products made from plants, not fossil fuels. This helps the environment and increases brand loyalty among eco-conscious consumers. If your business reviews its processes and can make changes, the rewards will follow.
5. A culture of sustainability
Becoming a sustainable business doesn’t happen overnight, and your efforts won’t go anywhere unless all employees embrace the idea. It needs to be an intrinsic part of your culture. So, when creating your environmental mission, remember to include your employees. Seek their opinions and ideas on how the company could do better. Ask them what change they would like to see. Collaborating with your team allows them to embody and embrace the new vision.
The sooner a small business acts, the more chance it will have of reducing environmental impact and connecting with a larger pool of consumers on a cause that deeply matters to them.
Climate change is more than just an environmental issue. It will also have a profound impact on the small business community. Companies need to act now. And leaders need to realise that change will help improve the sustainability and financial performance of their business.
About the author: Dan Bognar is Vice President & General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan at DocuSign, based in Sydney.
Main image: @_AkG via Twenty20