22 April is Earth Day. The official theme for 2022 is “Invest in our Planet”.
We need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.earthday.org
I am by far not an expert on this subject however I do believe that 1) it is a collective issue and 2) it can and does impact on small businesses. Therefore, I have put together some thoughts, ideas, and resources for you to ponder!
Why should small business care?
Sustainable businesses take steps to protect, renew or replace natural resources which can help with serious environmental issues. But there is more to it than just that:
Lower costs which increases profitability
There have been numerous studies by the likes of MIT and Harvard which show that sustainably-minded businesses use fewer resources. Resources have a cost so fewer resources equals less cost.
Customers are becoming savvier and aligning their purchases with their values. Many large businesses are also enforcing sustainability measures in their supplier contracts
You may scoff at that title, however, as with large businesses, some Government agencies and departments are starting to enforce sustainability measures as part of their contracts.
How much carbon do you even produce?
Until I completed the Carbon Calculator, I had no real idea how much greenhouse gasses I was producing as part of my everyday life. I mean I recycle cans and bottles, use renewable energy and live a fairly minimalistic lifestyle but the results were somewhat surprising. I encourage you to use the calculator and get an understanding of how much your small business produces.
What can your small business do?
We are all familiar with the concept of reduce, reuse, recycle. Most houses across the country have recycle bins, most states now offer a 10c refund per eligible drink container, and we all love a good Op Shop bargain, so what else can we do? Here are a few other ideas to consider:
- Go paperless if you haven’t already. If you are unable to go completely paperless, use recycled ink and paper and print both sides of the paper.
- Switch to an energy provider that offers renewable energy sources.
- Invest in solar for your home and/or business premises, where possible.
- Use an electricity metre to find out which appliances/tools use the most energy. Look at using those appliances or recharging tools/batteries when you are not on a peak rate if possible.
- Turn appliances off fully (do not leave them on standby) when they are not in use or overnight to reduce your electricity use.
- Recycle your old electronic devices.
- Use green cleaning products which are not only better for the environment but also for your health.
- Contribute to the Carbon Offset Program when flying.
- Plant a garden.
Contributing to a Carbon Offset Program when flying is incredibly easy as all it takes is a click of a button. However, did you know that there are a number of carbon offset programs in Australia that you can contribute to at any time? These will reduce your carbon footprint, or potentially even make it a positive footprint. When looking at these programs check to see if they are a deductible gift recipient (DGR) so you can also claim a tax deduction for your contribution.
Sustainability is fast becoming an issue for not only large businesses but also small ones. There is a case for investing in sustainable business practices. I believe that it will become more important for customers, staff and investors alike so why not jump on the front foot now and get ahead of the game? At worst you only make a positive impact on the environment!
Happy Earth Day!! 🌏