Startup Founders: This is How You Can Help Save the Planet
How to save the planet as a startup.
Startups already require a lot of effort, and changing the way yours works for the sake of a few sustainability points might seem overwhelming. But the act of choosing a greener path for your new business can come alongside some surprising benefits!
Not only are consumers more likely to do business with eco-friendly brands, but recent data indicates that people are also willing to pay more for services or products that tie in with environmentally friendly principles. A decade ago, the pressure on small and startup businesses was much less. But in 2022, it is both good for business and good for the planet to adopt sustainable habits.
And the good news is this: you don’t need to completely rebrand or rebuild your approach to business from scratch. There are plenty of simple, easy-to-incorporate ways to make your business more eco-conscious.
Here are seven of them to get you started on your journey to sustainable success.
1. Reduce Your Water And Electricity Consumption
This one may seem obvious. But that’s only because it is one of the easiest, most affordable, and most accessible ways for small businesses to shift into more sustainable territory.
Making big changes can be difficult when your budget is already stretched as thin as your mental capacity. However, simply reducing your start-up’s consumption of energy and water is something anyone can do. Over 25% of the water used in metropolitan areas comes from businesses and public institutions, but you can lower that percentage by adopting some simple reduction methods.
That means tending to any leaks immediately (left unattended, they’ll consume upwards of 10,000 gallons of water each year), switching off all electronics and light fixtures while out of the office, and in time, switching to energy-saving lightbulbs or even solar power when you have the financial capacity.
2. Don’t Throw Away What You Don’t Need
When it comes time for your startup to chuck out appliances, electronics, or furniture that it no longer needs, consider donating them to a local charity or selling them as second-hand goods. If they’re still in workable condition, there’s no reason why someone else can’t find a use for them—and you’ll save a lot of goods from getting dumped in a landfill.
What’s more, giving away things like old sofas, laptops, or desks to a person or organization that needs them can benefit your community as a whole. Win-win!
3. Offer Remote Working Options
Did you know that working remotely is actually better for the environment? The main reason for this is the decreased volume of carbon-emitting cars on the highway, contributing to cleaner air quality.
More people working at home also means less energy and water gets used in the office, which means cheaper utility bills for you and improved longevity for the planet. Giving your employees (and yourself) the option to work from home where possible not only makes people happier and more productive, it can play a significant role in your passage to planetary wellbeing.
4. Do Your Paperwork Digitally
If you haven’t done it already, moving across from paper documents to exclusively digital ones is another simple yet very effective way to make your startup more sustainable. Plus, you get a whole truckload of other benefits that will make day-to-day interactions much more efficient.
In addition to having a negative impact on the environment, paper documents (such as invoices, report sheets, or time schedules) can be easy to lose and don’t provide the same options for data integration that digital ones do. Digital documents can get backed up and stored for protection, automated for improved data input, and even help you collaborate better with other businesses.
There are also free invoice templates available, as well as downloadable templates for just about every other document your business needs. These templates save you and your employees loads of time that you can then use to focus on more important tasks.
5. Form Partnerships With Sustainable Brands
If you want your startup to be known for its sustainability principles, it can help to partner up with like-minded brands. Collaboration is one of the most important things a startup can do because it expands your network and opens up the opportunity to connect with audiences outside your main target market.
Finally (and fortunately for your business) sustainability is becoming mainstream within the realm of corporate culture. Almost all the world’s biggest brands now issue an annual sustainability report, and over 2,000 have set a science-backed carbon target.
But you needn’t think that far ahead just yet. Finding other young businesses in your area that have similar environmental aspirations as you will help you, your partners, and your community to actualize the sustainability goals you set.
6. Incentivize Employees To Become More Environmentally Conscious
While it is typical for startups to comprise of a limited employee group, there’s no reason not to start incentivizing sustainable habits early on in your business's lifespan.
After all, the earlier these habits get implemented, the faster they will become a normalized part of your lives. The idea here is to make it as easy as possible for employees to adopt environmentally conscious habits, such as starting a “ride your bike to work day” or offering a gift card to whoever walks to work the most over the course of a month.
Even something as simple as a Meatless Monday lunch challenge can start to slowly shift both your own and employees’ perspectives on eco-friendly living. Keep things light, fresh, and fun!
7. Be The Change You Want To See In The World
Whether we like it or not, everyone contributes to the foibles of climate change. But that doesn’t mean we’re left without options to change the narrative.
Despite what you may think, your startup is actually in the perfect position to make these positive changes—an older company with decades of unsustainable habits will have a much harder time adapting to this new frontier—both culturally and practically.
By beginning your startup’s sustainability journey now, you are setting yourself up for a flourishing, durable future. You should be proud!
We Want to Hear From You
What practices will you be utilizing to make your startup more sustainable?