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5 ways to become a green business (without breaking the bank)

If you’re a business just starting out, setting up an eco-friendly operation can seem difficult and expensive, but going green doesn’t have to hurt your bottom line. In fact, recent research [1] from the University of New South Wales shows promoting sustainability actually fosters economic development for small businesses.

At Sendle, we’ve done it first hand. To date, we’ve delivered parcels the equivalent distance of travelling 30 times to the sun and back and have grown our business over 15 per cent each month for forty consecutive months. We’re proud to say that every parcel delivered throughout this growth has been completely carbon neutral.

We built our business ground up to reflect our commitment to the environment — here are a few tips we’ve picked up along the way:

  1. Find your people and build a network

  2. Share your efforts with customers

  3. Do your research

  4. Champion a green company culture

  5. Go green as soon as you can

Find your people

Make sure the organisations you work with are ethically aligned with your own practices at every stage — from design and marketing to production and packaging. Actively seek out companies to work alongside that care about the environment as much as you do. This will help you build a network of other like-minded people and expand your sustainable practices. We have found becoming a certified BCorp to be a brilliant way to connect with other sustainable Australian businesses.

Share your efforts

Make your business an easy choice for customers by sharing exactly how you’re doing your part. Broadcast your internal sustainable practices on your external channels — this could include adding a carbon-neutral badge to your website,  posting about your office compost bin on Instagram, or showing how your business is participating in Plastic Free July. Research [2] shows consumers will deliberately seek and purchase from sustainable companies.

Do your research

Build your understanding of what your customers care about and then show them you are united. Which initiatives would they like to see you support? Does every aspect of your product reflect their sustainable values? Is your supply chain transparent? According to Monash University’s Dr. Eloise Zoppos [3], to remain relevant in the changing retail landscape retailers need to “become an ally to the new consumer by enabling them to make consumption choices that align with their values.”

Make sustainability part of your company culture

Provide your team with the means and motivation to go green too. Give them branded keep cups and drink bottles. Share statistics about your businesses imprint on the environment, including energy consumption, paper usage, and recycling. Involve employees in setting company goals like improving recycling systems and reducing electricity usage.

Go green when you’re green

It is much easier to build your business green from the ground up than trying to overhaul practices later on. However, if you are already established, all hope is not lost. The key is placing sustainability at the core of your business and building from there. Small changes like installing energy-efficient lightbulbs and investing in a recycling system are a great start.

By growing your green credentials, not only will you see your costs decrease, but you will also attract other like-minded people seeking sustainable goods and services.

Eva Ross is the Chief Marketing Officer at Sendle.

[1] https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/art-architecture-design/tackling-climate-change-can-generate-economic-development

[2] https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-releases/2015/consumer-goods-brands-that-demonstrate-commitment-to-sustainability-outperform/

[3] https://www2.monash.edu/impact/articles/what-retailers-need-to-know-about-the-new-consumer/

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