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The benefits of sustainability for small businesses

If you think that being a sustainable business sounds like throwing money in the recycling bin, think again! Sustainability actually means much more than being ‘green’. As a sustainable business, you’re working towards business growth, as well as having a minimum negative impact on society and the environment. The UN describes it as ‘the three-legged stool of people, planet and profit’.

In actual fact, more small businesses than you would think are making sustainability a top priority. Lloyds’ annual survey of SMEs in 2013 showed that more than half of SMEs are adopting sustainability strategies to save money. ( The Guardian)

In this article, we show you the main benefits of becoming a sustainable business, and we give you some ideas to achieve quick wins.

Benefit 1: Improve Efficiency

The main benefit of becoming more sustainable is that you can improve your efficiency by making smart choices. Higher efficiency means less waste, fewer costs and higher profits. You can make efficient choices by taking your business online. Rather than a storefront in a busy city, you can create an online shop with a depot further out of town. If possible, you could eliminate travel time, costs and make your staff happy by allowing them to work from home.

Idea: Instead of travelling to a conference or meeting by plane or car, use an online conference call tool. Not only do you reduce carbon emissions, you’re also saving money on travel, accommodation and other expenses.

conference call sustainability

Benefit 2: Improve Your Brand

With 66% of consumers saying they are willing to pay more for sustainable goods, advertising about your sustainable choices can increase your customer base. ( Nielsen)

Not only that, but people looking for a job will also be more attracted to a company with great ethical values. To put it bluntly, being sustainable is good for your PR. You can attract passionate employees and customers by showing off that your business is nice to the world and its inhabitants.

Idea: As many large public sector bodies are already doing, you could give your employees a few days paid leave to volunteer in your local area. Or perhaps organise a bake sale for your chosen charity. Take photos and write about the experience, and share this on social media for maximum exposure of your company’s goodwill.

volunteering sustainability

Benefit 3: Improve Chances at Tenders

Your company will have a better chance at success when tendering for contracts. Many corporations and public bodies follow sustainability regulations for their supply chains, which often include SMEs. By showing that your business model matches their ethical practices, you will have a strategic edge over your competitors when tendering for a contract.

Idea: Write a mission statement on your vision of sustainability. Explain further how you have incorporated sustainability throughout your business and publish this on your About Us page. When you’re going in for a contract, you’ll have it ready to use.

sustainable business tendering for contract

Further Reading

If you want to read more about the benefits of incorporating sustainability in your small business, take a look at the following government sources.

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