8 Ways that all business owners can embrace sustainability

Written by C Wolsey

There is a growing demand for environmental and social change worldwide. As a result, businesses are learning how to become more sustainable to help keep up with this ever-increasing demand while working towards greater global sustainability. 

There are plenty of steps that all business owners can follow to help them embrace sustainability with open arms. This article is here to tell you how. 

1. Reassess Your Packaging

Packaging is a huge contributor to pollution worldwide. In the UK alone, more than 2 million tons of plastic packaging waste is generated each year. To help your business avoid falling into this statistic, it is time to start reassessing how you package your products. It’s time to say goodbye to single-use plastics and hello to more biodegradable materials such as hemp and recycled cotton. Changes like this will significantly reduce your businesses contribution to pollution. 

When it comes to eco-friendly packaging, you don’t just want to consider the materials. You should also take into account where the packaging comes from. So, you may have a great packaging supplier who has incredible biodegradable options. However, if the materials travel overseas, the eco-friendly benefits will soon diminish. Therefore, it is advised that you choose a local packaging supplier to reduce the need for long-distance shipping. 

2. Reduce Your Energy Usage

Energy costs are soaring across the globe, significantly increasing businesses’ carbon footprints. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that business owners can lower their energy costs, which will not only save them money – but help them reduce their carbon footprint. Investing in energy-efficient appliances could save your company thousands of pounds each year. Be aware that the upfront cost of these appliances could be significantly higher than usual. However, the eco-friendly benefits and the money it can save your business, in the long run, is priceless. 

Leaving appliances on standby is also a habit that your business should reduce. For example, if your team is not using their computers, they should shut them down and unplug them until they need to use them again. Even on standby, your appliances will continue to draw out small amounts of energy. By getting into the habit of unplugging electronics that are not in use, you will start to see a positive impact on your energy usage each month. You can learn more about lowering your energy usage through some online research. 

3. Re-Think Your Shipping Process

You can make specific changes to your shipping process to reduce your business’ carbon footprint actively. For example, you should think about how you package your items. Does a small item need to be packaged inside a giant box? Instead, you should make your packaging compact. This will minimise the amount of packaging that is wasted and will also create more space for transit. Therefore, fewer deliveries will need to be made, lowering your emissions. 

Encouraging bulk purchases can also help your brand become more sustainable. Instead of customers purchasing products one at a time, which will increase the amount of packaging used, you can consolidate your orders by packaging them all in one box. To achieve this, you can offer customers discounts on multiple orders. 

4. Take Up A Short Course

Online short courses are continuing to grow in popularity. Now, business owners can complete a course in a matter of weeks to help them strengthen and broaden their knowledge in particular areas. There are plenty of business management courses out there. Take a look at this business sustainability management online short course from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). The course addresses the increasing demand for sustainability practice in business. 

The course will give business professionals valuable skills that they can use to pioneer meaningful change throughout their business operations. Not only are you going to meet the needs of your consumers by selling sustainable goods, but you are also able to give your company a competitive advantage over others by giving it a purpose. 

5. Aim To Go Paperless

If there is one thing that most offices tend to use in bulk, it is paper. Whether your team is filling out important documents or printing out schedules, there is no denying that paper waste can soon start to pile up. Research has shown that the average office worker in the UK uses approximately 10,000 sheets of paper a year. Unfortunately, it is not all appropriately recycled, and paper waste is often burned. This negatively contributes to air pollution. 

So, what is the solution? To go paperless. It’s time to switch to online paperwork and billing. Not only will this significantly reduce your paper waste each year, but it also frees up your storage space. Understandably, not all businesses can go 100% paperless. In these instances, it is advised that you use recycled paper and ensure that your employees understand how to recycle used paper appropriately.

6. Educate Your Employees On Environmental Awareness

What does your company culture represent? This is an important question to ask yourself as a business owner. Your employees can massively contribute to your business’s sustainability if they are educated on environmental awareness. You can build a strong workplace culture based on this to help you work towards your goals. For example, you can implement a work from home policy to help you reduce your company’s carbon footprint on long commutes. 

It can also benefit your business to incentivise your employees to be more environmentally friendly. For example, if an employee chooses to bike to work instead of driving their car, you can reward them for their efforts. It encourages others to do the same and contributes to positive change throughout the workplace. Research some employee incentive programmes to give you some well-needed inspiration. 

7. Recycle

Does your business have a recycling system in place? If the answer to that question is no, it is time to make a change. Recycling is essential for any business as it helps protect the environment by saving energy. Instead of producing brand-new materials, they can be reused and recycled. Recycling also diverts waste from landfills. It is no secret that landfills emit harmful gases, and the more we contribute to them, the more damage we cause to the environment. 

There are plenty of tips regarding recycling in the workplace online. You should study them and use them to your advantage to help your company become more sustainable. Research the materials that can be recycled and communicate this with your employees. Recycling needs to be a team effort. Offer incentives for those who successfully implement it to encourage others to do the same. 

8. Donate Unwanted Items To Charity

There comes a time for most businesses where office furniture and appliances need an upgrade. In these instances, it is crucial that you donate your unwanted items to charity rather than sending them to landfills. As previously mentioned in this article, landfills emit many harmful gases that cause a lot of damage to the environment. Your unwanted items can make a difference in someone else’s life, and it also sets an example for your employees. 

Get in touch with local charitable organisations to find out where you can donate your items. Some organisations may even offer to pick up the items themselves if there is a lot of heavy furniture. Donating items like these allow you to adopt a more sustainable approach rather than throwing them in a landfill. 


Hopefully now you will have learned about the changing patterns businesses face and what is expected of you as a modern business. Not only can it help the ethics of your business, but it can help you save on costs in both the short-term and the long-term. Use the methods listed above to help transform your business and embrace sustainability, and you will be able to reap the rewards.