Creating a greener future: Sustainability advice for SMEs

24th October 2022

In 2022, if you walk into any large or multinational company, you’ll likely find a whole department focused on sustainability, looking for methods to lessen its environmental impact. It’s a huge and extremely worthy cause, but how can small businesses contribute with their limited time and resources?

Here are some recommendations to get you started on the path to a more sustainable future.

Calculate the carbon footprint of your company

Understanding your present carbon footprint is one of the first stages in making any business more environmentally friendly. By analysing your energy use over the past 12 months (like electricity and fuel), this information will help you understand if there are any fast wins your business can take advantage of and provide you with a clear picture of how big your carbon footprint actually is.

There are several excellent free resources available, such as the Carbon Trust calculator, which not only shows a company’s carbon footprint but also provides a variety of extra resources to aid in developing a sustainability plan based on the data provided. Like any long-term effort, building a more sustainable small business depends on knowing the entire extent of the labour involved.

Make more eco-friendly supplier selections

Making thoughtful decisions about your supplier choices can occasionally be the first step towards becoming a more sustainable small business. Before starting a commercial partnership, whenever possible, enquire about your suppliers’ Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies or investigate how they’re pursuing a more environmentally friendly future.

As part of our values, we always try to abide by the three Rs rule, part of the waste hierarchy which is a process used to protect the environment and conserve resources through a priority approach – Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. Electric cars, solar power, home working, cycle routes and tree planting are just some of the changes and initiatives that we have in place to reduce our impact on the environment.

But it’s not simply about what we want for ourselves. Our business mobiles enable small businesses to adopt hybrid working, allowing them to become more flexible in how they operate as well as reduce some of their carbon-producing activities, such as daily commutes, maintaining a full-time office, and attending meetings, to mention but a few. In the end, selecting the appropriate suppliers might make it a lot simpler to meet your small business’s sustainability aim.

Invest in environmentally friendly technology

Achieving more sustainable company practices is rarely simple, especially when it comes to the technology that we all depend on. Phones, laptops, and tablets all have an environmental cost, from the precious metals used in microchips to the plastic materials used in casings and components. Due to difficulties like these, businesses like Apple are trying to have all their goods be net zero by 2030. Their environmental initiatives cover the entire value chain, from converting their plants to sustainable energy to tripling the number of recycled metals used in their goods to 75% less single-use plastic used in their packaging. Even the gadgets themselves are participating, utilising clever power management strategies to extend battery life. Apple goods are without a doubt deserving of serious consideration for small businesses trying to make the most ecologically responsible investment when it comes to choosing their technology.

Plus, when you are due an upgrade, instead of letting your old devices sit in a draw or end up on a landfill site, trade in your old devices. 80% of your mobile phones and tablets are recyclable, so by trading them in they can be responsibly disposed of without a negative impact on the environment.

Streamline your “carbon-heavy” working methods

As we mentioned earlier, the recent trend toward hybrid or flexible working is intimately related to some of the biggest adjustments a small firm can do to reduce its environmental impact. According to O2 Business research titled “The Flexible Future of Work,” if full-time employees commuted one day less per week, they would log 1526 fewer miles annually.

That would translate to a reduction in carbon emissions of 7.1 megatons on average over a year, which is a significant amount. These savings go beyond merely commuting, too: With more individuals working full-time from home, less energy is used, which further lowers businesses’ carbon footprints. Utilising public transportation or the government-sponsored bike-to-work programme are excellent strategies to limit your use of cars and the emissions they produce, even when you are travelling to and from work.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post on some of the strategies small businesses can use to increase their sustainability. If you would like to read more about how Challenger contributes to a greener future visit https://challenger-mobile.co.uk/sustainability/