35 Things to Consider When Creating a Sustainable Business

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35 Things to Consider When Creating a Sustainable Business

Last year I created a 12-page Sustainable Lifestyle Guide that included over 101 tips to help people live a greener life.

The guide was well received and since it’s launch in October, has been downloaded nearly 300 times. Proof to me that more people are living with their eyes wide open rather than being walking zombies.

Why did I create the guide? To make it easier for people to begin their green journey.

I spent a full day writing and formatting it. But it was well worth the time and energy; particularly as I’ve been told that it is useful.

Over the last 5 years I have consciously sought to practice sustainability in nearly all aspects of my personal life and as I am now a fully-fledged business owner, sustainability has followed me into that arena as well.

As I plan to grow the content marketing agency and expansion is planned for the permaculture farm, I thought it fitting that the first blog post for 2016 focus on how businesses can incorporate ideas so that they may become more sustainable.

So first things first – what does sustainability mean?

I define sustainability as being able to thrive within the earth’s limits without limiting other’s (including other living beings) ability to thrive as well. The process to get there is called sustainable development. The most widely accepted definition of sustainable development is the one by Brundtland Commission:

“Development that means the needs of the present without compromising the abilities of future generations to meet their needs.”

While 100% sustainability does not yet exist in any part of the world (that I know of), businesses can still help to mitigate environmental impact by implementing sustainable actions.

Here are some questions to consider if you’re looking to start a sustainable business or looking to improve the eco credentials of your existing one:

35 Things to Consider When Creating a Sustainable Business

Raw Materials

1. Can you use renewable raw materials such as FSC-certified wood?

2. Are you able to source materials that are biodegradable?

3. Are you able to use recycled materials?

4. Are there better options than single-use plastic components?

5. Can you buy less or buy better eco-friendly alternatives?

Manufacturing

6. Are you able to manufacture products using renewable energy such as wind and solar?

7. If not, do you have access to greener electricity and other eco-friendly alternative sources such as biofuels?

8. Can you manufacture locally?

Energy/Water Usage

9. Are you able to drive down energy consumption if you do not have access to renewable energy?

10. Is there a carbon offset scheme you can participate in?

11. Have you installed water-efficient taps?

Premises

12. Can you install solar panels?

13. If building your premises, can you source used/recycled building materials?

14. Have you installed energy efficient LED lighting?

15. Can you install rain water tanks?

16. Do you use passive cooling and heating?

17. Do you decorate with indoor plants to provide fresh air and reduce toxins?

35 Things to Consider When Creating a Sustainable Business

Distribution

18. If you control distribution, have you implemented green transport plans providing drivers with the most eco-friendly travel routes?

19. Can you train staff on fuel-efficient driving techniques?

20. Are you able to use low carbon fuels?

21. If relying on a freight company or distributor, how green are they?

Disposal

22. Can you minimise waste disposal?

23. Can material offcuts be turned into something useful?

24. Can waste be composted rather than being sent to landfill?

25. Can waste be re-used or recycled?

Packaging

26. Are you using recycled packaging materials?

27. Is there a way to minimise packaging including single-use plastic packaging materials?

Employees

28. Have you implemented an environmental policy?

29. Have you educated your employees on environmental policies and other recycling programs?

30. Do you monitor adherence to environmental policies?

31. If feasible, do you allow opportunities for people to work from home rather than commuting into the workplace?

32. Do you have an employee carpool program?

Other ideas

33. Can you commit a portion of business profits to sustainability programs such as tree planting?

34. Does your business volunteer its time to environmental campaigns and causes such as Clean Up Australia Day?

35. Do you run a paperless and minimalist office?

As people become more eco-conscious, businesses that incorporate sustainability into their operations will have a competitive advantage. What three things can you implement this week to help your business become more sustainable?

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