An eco-friendly or sustainable business takes measures to become more environmentally conscious in its decisions. Its leaders make a commitment to work with tools and methods that reduce the harm that many common business practices can do to the environment.
An environmentally, or “green,” business can be achieved through many strategies, from going paper-free to promoting energy efficiency. Whether it be big or small, sustainable business ideas combine your commitment to the community with your pursuit of starting a business.
In addition to helping the environment, sustainable business practices also can drive revenue and profit. A survey by First Insight and Wharton’s Baker Retailing Center revealed that 89% of U.S. consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
Are you ready to launch a green business and make a positive impact on your community? Here are a few tips that can help make your business more eco-friendly.
1. Measure and Report Your ESG Metrics
Tracking your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitment is a new way for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to show that they are making a positive impact on the environment.
As the name implies, an ESG score combines three factors:
- Environmental – such as resource use and pollution
- Social – such as employee diversity and community impact
- Governance – such as internal systems used to meet the needs of stakeholders
Measuring your ESG efforts is not only an effective way to advance eco-friendly initiatives, but it is also becoming a driver for receiving financial investments.
Investors are increasingly acknowledging non-financial ESG factors as part of their analytical procedures to determine material risks at companies. Therefore, smaller organizations often share ESG-related information to help investors evaluate the sustainability of an organization.
Add it to the list of many things SMBs gain by going green.
2. Work With Environmentally-Conscious Invoice Funders
Investors are not the only people applying non-financial ESG factors to their analytical processes, but invoice funders are doing so as well.
In the past, deciding whether or not to fund (or purchase) an invoice was largely based on the creditworthiness of sellers and buyers. As one of the leaders in this “green funding” effort, Crowdz has been supporting funders in these purchasing decisions by providing insight into the sustainability practices of companies seeking invoice funding.
To kickstart this initiative, Crowdz rebranded its “Smart Score” risk-rating tool to Sustainability, Risk, and Financial (SuRF) Score. This eco-friendly scoring tool combines real-time financial data with sustainability metrics to allow eco-conscious funders to track their company’s progress in becoming more environmentally friendly in their investment decisions.
Beyond that, the Crowdz platform provides business owners with tips for sustainability improvements to help drive even more positive change in their local communities. To learn more, read this blog post about how sustainability can be part of the receivables funding risk assessment.
3. Go Paperless at Your Small Business
For decades, paper use and documentation have played a major role in operating a business. But with many communication activities and other business processes moving online, an increasing number of organizations are considering going paperless altogether in an effort to save money and help the environment.
Examples of some of the techniques these companies are using include:
- Using digital tools like email, Slack, and Zoom for all communications
- Digitizing paper documentation and storage
- Using an eSignature service
- Receiving and paying bills online
- Avoiding note-taking on paper
Although going paperless within your small business may require some nontrivial process changes, it will eliminate a lot of unnecessary waste.For instance, studies show that 20% of print jobs are never even retrieved from printers, while as much as 50% of all printed material on any given business day ends up in the trash by today’s end.
4. Save on Power and Lighting
One of the most effective ways to promote eco-consciousness is to reduce energy-draining power and lighting use.The less energy your company uses, the lower both your environmental impact and your utility costs will be. And in many cases, making even large changes in your energy usage will have minimal impact on your everyday business processes.
For example, by decreasing the brightness on your computer monitor from 100% to 70%, you can save up to 20% of the monitor’s energy. Reducing your “sleep” setting from two hours to 20 minutes can save even more. Imagine the impact of this change if it were made across your entire organization. Most employees won’t notice the difference, but making adjustments like these will greatly reduce your environmental footprint.
Another adjustment to consider is investing in energy-efficient lighting and smart plugs. Many eco-friendly lights provide the same brightness as traditional bulbs but use 90% less energy. Better yet, combining lights with smart plugs, which allow users to control lighting and other electronic devices’ on/off status remotely, allows lights to last 15 times longer, resulting in big financial savings on operations and maintenance.
In terms of other types of power usages, some steps you can take include:
- Driving fuel-efficient and/or more environmentally friendly company vehicles
- Eliminating unnecessary business travel or multi-purposing business trips
- Implementing full- or part-time telecommuting, where feasible
5. Conserve Water
Commercial buildings account for 17% of the water consumption, making them the second-largest consumers of publicly supplied water in the United States. Therefore, reducing water usage is a crucial factor in ensuring a bright future for our environment.
A few ways to conserve more water at your small business include:
- Educating employees about water conservation
- Check for spikes in water usage on your monthly utility bills
- Identifying and quickly repairing leaky faucets and pipes
- Outfitting restroom and break room faucets with low-flow restrictors
- Reducing landscape water usage by replacing grass with xeriscaping, such as rocks and drought-resistant plants
Every organization uses water in different ways – and some more than others. Start tackling this issue by first determining how much water you use and where you use it, and then implement techniques like those above to reduce it.
Learn How to Help Small Businesses Reclaim the Future
Small businesses generate 44% of U.S. economic activity in the United States, and yet millions of these organizations are at risk of closing every day.
At Crowdz, we are working to ensure that small and midsize companies, including startups have a chance to succeed. We created a white-label receivables-financing service in order to accelerate cash flow and increase working capital, which are two powerful ways of keeping companies’ doors open.
There are obvious financial and business-survival reasons for these efforts, but there is a less obvious justification as well: companies that are more financially stable have an easier time focusing on environmentally-protective measures, which – as it happens – can enhance their financial stability even further.
To join the movement and get involved, click here.