Sustainability is on our lips and minds all the time these days, not least in terms of the arguments that surround climate change and how to 'manage' it.
As a micro business, we might be forgiven for thinking that our power to change the world around us is very small and that our ability to invest heavily in big green projects is limited so therefore worthless.
Through all the noise and shouting, how can we ensure that we're taking green action in our businesses consistently and for the biggest impact. How can we maximise the influence we have to make the world a more sustainable place.
Today, I wanted to share some ideas or reminders (clearly a short list really but we can continue to share more in the Forum!) about what we can do to reach out of our comfort zone and step a little further to help save our planet. Chris Packham said to us at a recent conference, 'winning is not giving up' and I think we can collectively create some wins that really matter.
Remember that these are ideas that are part of your transition....it's a journey, you can choose just one action today and it makes a difference. If we choose one action a month, imagine the change in 2 years....
Monitor your energy use to find ways to reduce what you use. Saves you money of course, but also reduces carbon footprint by a few percent each month. Don't leave equipment on standby, use eco bulbs, run expensive cycles overnight and turn temperatures down.
Add your energy figure to a carbon tracker so that you can see the efforts you're going to. We love the tracker with EQM (Environmental Quality Mark) which helps your business track all it's energy use to support your journey to net zero, but you can also try Carbon Footprint Tracker or the WWF version.
Check where your energy comes from. You could swap to a 100% renewable tariff or a even head to a 100% company. Ask your company - demand leads to change.
Monitor where your waste really goes. If you use business waste disposal, ask how they split waste (some are much better than others!) and understand what your council really does with 'recycled' items.
Recycle all your soft plastics (food wrappers etc) at your local supermarket.
Switch to eco cleaning products that really work & reduce the chemicals in our water systems. I like BioD - Corps rated company based in the UK and not owned by Unilever. You can even buy in bulk if you need to.
Assess your whole supply chain to check for their policies on the environment and people e.g. anti slavery policies. Let your customers know that you do this.
Choose a local or regional supply chain - maybe set it to 30 miles for example and again tell your customers.
Choose recycled packaging or save packaging from your own deliveries and share with your customers. Reduce the amount of packaging you use.
Provide your customers with ideas about how they could re use your packaging to ensure a longer life.
Use paper tape rather than sellotape.
Choose an environmental Server provider or ask your website builder about their products - if you don't ask as a customers they will never think to change things.
Repair your devices and avoid automatic upgrades. You can lease reconditioned devices through companies like Raylo or get your device repaired. Check out companies like TMT First who are changing the world one device at a time.
Change your bank to a more ethical one. The best around is Triodos and maybe check out what they do and compare with your own bank. Do you want your hard earned money to fund projects and activities that you don't support?
Write a sustainability policy today and share it on your website. Share what you do already and what you hope to do in the future. This offers transparency and inspires your audience.
Make a pact against single use plastic. We all use plastic and sometimes it can't be avoided but we can all have an aluminium water bottle and take our own bags to the shops.
Choose a campaign to support and publicly. Perhaps your business decides to look after waterways through Surfers Against Sewage or your support your local Wildlife Trust. Supporting them is action that's close to your heart. Sharing it with your customers builds actions far beyond that.
Sustainability isn't just stuff but about people too. Ensure you have an EDI policy (Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity) to show your audience that your business is committed to key UN Sustainable Development Goals. You don't need to be an employer to show your values.
Put Sustainability at the heart of your business not because your business is perfectly green but because you are influencing your audience and sparking conversation that leads to action.
Keep learning with programmes like Carbon Literacy. You can become 'Carbon Literate' through Simply Club for just £40, we can gather 10 of you together to become fully accredited - something to show off to your customers! Let me know if you're interested.
Get an award - there's nothing like a badge to help your business stand out eh? Simply is the first national award holder of EQM (has been going in the Peak District and Staffordshire for 20 years) and you can be too. Find out more here.