Sustainability wasn’t always a hot topic, but as our oceans bloat with microplastics, our natural resources run critically low and an impending climate crisis looms on the horizon, even the most eco-ignorant are forced to face reality.
Thankfully, the average consumer has already started making eco-conscious changes to their day-to-day lives. This is evident from a recent study from Deloitte, concluding that compared with 2021 there has been a sharp increase in the number of people adopting a more sustainable lifestyle.
This shift in mindset has already caused huge ripples across all sectors. In tech, Fairphone crafts its device from responsibly sourced materials. Toast Beer is brewed using bread that would otherwise go to waste. Even the tobacco industry is going green, with Smokey Treats claiming to produce the world’s first biodegradable cigarette.
If you’re running your own business and wanting to help in the fight for sustainability, but don’t quite know how, then we can help. Below, we’ll explain 4 ways you can offset your business’s environmental impacts and maximize its sustainability.
Ever ordered a tiny item, only for it to arrive in an unnecessarily gargantuan box? While the thrill of receiving an item through the mail is inexpensive, most deliveries we receive cost the planet a great deal. Luckily, industry giants such as Amazon have already begun to change their ways, recently introducing ‘Frustration-Free’ packaging, using recycled material, and doing away with unneeded plastic tape. The initiative has been an incredible success, resulting in a 36% reduction in the average weight of outbound packaging (that’s the equivalent of a staggering 1 million tons of packaging material!).
This change has been driven by a huge shift in consumer attitudes, with many now claiming they consider it important that the products they buy are packaged using recyclable materials. More than ever, shoppers are considering the impact of your product’s packaging on the earth. Corrugated cardboard, cellulose, glassine paper, cornstarch, and even mushroom packaging — there’s an eco-conscious material for every situation, leaving little reason to rely on single-use packaging in 2022.
Go green with your shipping options
The convenience of online shopping may take some of the strain off our schedules, but unfortunately, this pressure is merely being shifted onto our roads and transportation networks. Whether it’s the giant cargo-laden ships plowing through our oceans, or the vans packed to the brim with groceries and chugging through the streets — the impact on our environment is significant.
As a result, sustainable shipping options are gaining popularity, with consumers willing to pay a premium to ensure their goods are delivered in a way that minimizes the damage to the environment. Subsequently, many carriers such as FedEx (with its EarthSmart initiative) now participate in ‘green’ shipping programs, ensuring their vehicles and their facilities meet strict standards for environmental sustainability (such as using electric or hybrid delivery trucks). By selecting a shipping carrier that prioritizes sustainable practices, you can reduce your online store’s indirect environmental impact.
Offer remote working
The rapid adoption of remote and hybrid working environments spurred on by the global pandemic has handed freedom back to employees. Now able to choose their own shift patterns and unshackled from the daily commute, remote working promises to reduce personal emissions on our roads by up to 80%.
What’s more, employer of record services (like Remote, for example) offer global HR solutions, enabling managers to hire and onboard employees from anywhere in the world and negating the need for international travel. For example, if you want to hire someone in France, but you don’t operate there, you can have an employer of record take care of all the legal aspects of the hiring process, covering everything from tax and payroll to the standard HR requirements. This way, everything will be above board and in accordance with French laws and regulations, leaving you to focus on the onboarding process. If you do end up building a global team, our guide to managing a multicultural workforce might come in handy.
Use local suppliers
While we understand that this may not be possible within every industry, it’s always best to source your products locally wherever possible to reduce the carbon emissions and pollution caused by long-distance transportation. Opting to purchase from local suppliers also reduced the need for an excessive amount of packaging too — a win-win.
In addition to supporting your local economy, you can also be sure that your suppliers are using fair, ethical, and sustainable working practices (not that all overseas suppliers don’t, but it’s certainly harder to perform thorough checks) while supporting your local economy. During the pandemic, shoppers had no choice but to buy local goods, and national campaigns were raised to highlight the importance of high street stores. Consequently, consumers have warmed to the idea of locally sourced products, especially given the fact that they’re a more sustainable choice, too.
While environmental and sustainability concerns may seem to be among the biggest challenges facing global businesses in 2022, there are plenty of ways to generate a more sustainable business model; from team management strategies, to how you offset your environmental impact. Just remember — be sure to set tangible, attainable goals, otherwise, you may be accused of greenwashing or failing to follow through on your environmental commitments.