Embracing a sustainable business strategy has many benefits: Along with helping the environment, sustainable companies are often more attractive to customers, employees, and investors alike. The following strategies can help your small business move toward sustainability.
Don’t Wait to Form the Business
If you haven’t actually made your business a legal entity, there’s no time like the present, as selecting a designation for your business can offer certain benefits. If one of your goals is to attract sustainability-minded investors, you may find it helpful to form your business as a corporation. Compared to LLCs, corporations make it easy to transfer shares, and the standardized structure is a draw to some investors. When starting a corporation, a formation service may help you save money on costs and reduce the hassle of the process.
Research the Pillars of Sustainability
A broadly accepted view of sustainability breaks it down into three pillars: environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and governance. Generally speaking, environmental sustainability efforts involve lessening a company’s impact on the environment. The social pillar involves a company’s efforts to uplift both its employees and its surrounding community. Governance, meanwhile, refers to matters like a company’s financial transparency and its stakeholders’ ability to vote on critical matters.
Do some research to find sustainability opportunities relevant to your specific industry. For instance, to meet the environmental goal, your company might form partnerships with vendors who themselves have adopted sustainable production methods. Your company’s social efforts might involve volunteering or donations. In governance, rigorously adhering to legal standards, avoiding unseemly political donations, and setting up transparent financial reporting processes are good starting points.
Invest in Planning and Training
Once you’ve identified some sustainability methods, it’s time to invest in putting them into practice. Helpful tactics include setting up a roadmap for the next several years. The roadmap should answer questions like what your company’s sustainability goals are and how it plans to get there, year by year.
Also, consider auditing your company’s current sustainability efforts. Evaluate your company’s supply chain and where it gets its energy. Switching to solar or wind power, for instance, may be a way toward more environmental friendliness.
It’s critical to bring your employees into the fold: They may have feedback that helps you identify opportunities. In the other direction, investing in sustainability training can help them—and you—make your company’s sustainability vision a reality.
Lean on Other Organizations
Various organizations may also assist you in finding opportunities. On the national level, the Small Business Administration has put some effort into helping businesses find environmentally–minded grant and loan options. State and local organizations can be of use as well.
When applying for multiple grants, it’s likely that you’ll have multiple PDF documents you need to combine. Fortunately, there are tools online that make it easy to combine PDFs into one file. This will help you keep track of applications easier and prevent costly errors.
Toward a Green Future
Tapping into networks that support green businesses, setting up your business as a proper legal entity, and embracing the pillars of environmental, social, and governance sustainability will help your business support the environment. Your company’s community, shareholders, and employees will benefit as well.
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A retired teacher who believes she can help save the Great Outdoors while also helping local economies recover