You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. – Jane Goodall
While the latest IPCC report is damning, it also makes clear that we have the power to avoid the very worst predictions. At Giant Peach, we are doing what we can within our own business and through helping like minded brands to operate in a way that is more sustainable. We’ve recently been awarded Planet Mark certification again for our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions and our next goal is to evolve into a B-corp.
More than ever, people today are aware of the environmental and social issues around their purchases. Customers want more than greenwashing. While it can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! Being more sustainable doesn’t have to involve a big financial investment, and even if your business doesn’t fit into the ‘eco’ category, you can still play your part in creating a better world.
Here are some easy, yet impactful steps you can take to get started on your sustainability journey.
1. Make a start!
Making a commitment to saving the world is more than just being ‘eco-friendly’, it’s a commitment to making sustainability a fundamental part of how you do business.
Start with small, simple changes. Think of what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, like letting staff work from home more often (Covid-19 means we’re all familiar with that!) and change to LED lightbulbs. Look at how you can reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Switch to eco cleaning products and renewable energy suppliers.
The key is to be strategic. Calculate where you’re at now and set a realistic goal, with a timeframe, for where you want to be in the future.
2. Get to know your supply chain
Most businesses rely on external suppliers for something. Whether it’s raw materials, packaging or energy, getting to know more about your suppliers and how they do business can help you identify areas where you could make switches that will make your business model more sustainable.
We’ve seen some brands in the fashion industry move towards reducing their environmental impact by using more sustainable fabrics like recycled cotton, lyocell and bamboo. Eco-friendly fabrics are often associated with more ethical business practices too, and cost more because the people making them are getting paid a decent wage.
If you buy or sell packaged products, you could consider switching to recyclable or even compostable packaging. Choosing to use recycled paper and materials across your business reduces what you take from the earth too and contributes to the circular economy. And there are loads of energy suppliers with great sustainability initiatives that you can switch to!
3. Reduce your energy usage
Being more energy efficient will not only reduce your carbon footprint but your energy bill too.
Moving to LED lights, integrating smart heating thermostats and using energy-efficient appliances can make a big impact. Websites use energy too! Data servers are constantly on, using huge amounts of energy. Look into more sustainable server companies that use renewable energy. Google uses 100% renewable energy to power its massive data centres, and the technology is becoming more available to smaller businesses too.
4. Buy carbon offsets
There are lots of different carbon offset marketplaces where you can calculate your emissions and choose a project to help offset them. When choosing the right option for your business, it’s important to search for a cause that has a third-party certification and research the projects the investments are made in. This can be a really great way to support the causes you care about!
5. Get involved in your local community
Social and environmental problems are often interconnected. Check your local area to see if there are any community groups that you can get involved in, whether it’s a community garden helping to improve the local ecosystem or an organisation that provides skills to underprivileged groups. Help is needed everywhere, so pick something you’re passionate about and that aligns with your brand values.
6. Educate your employees, your customers and your competitors!
If you’re committed to your sustainability efforts, then share that knowledge widely and you might encourage others in your industry to take action too.
Start by encouraging your employees to be more sustainable at home as well as at work. They can start with simple things like turning off lights, phone charges and computer monitors when they aren’t in use. Engaging your staff will mean you make much quicker progress!
7. Shout about it!
Don’t be afraid to shout about your sustainability initiatives, you never know who you might inspire! We’re constantly inspired and motivated by the amazing ethical businesses and people we work with who are doing some really incredible things to make the world a better place. We’ve talked about some of them on our blog and at events over the years.
Saving the planet isn’t the only reason to have a sustainability strategy, it can also give your business a competitive edge! In a recent survey, 70% of people said they were even more aware of environmental issues since the onset Covid-19 pandemic. Consumers want to purchase from brands that have strong sustainability credentials that align with their ethics – they want to feel that they are part of a positive change in the world.
Every business will have a different journey to sustainability and even small, incremental changes can make a big difference over time. The key is to just start!