Protecting the planet is now a significant factor in running any business today

The planet is in a state of climate emergency, with 62% of UK adults expecting rising temperatures to directly impact them by 2030, according to the Office for National Statistics. For this reason all businesses, including SMEs, have a responsibility to do their bit to protect the planet.

Not only that but today’s consumers recognise the importance of sustainability in the brands they buy from. Business Wire reports that 60% of consumers rate sustainability as a vital factor in the decision to purchase, while three quarters of millennial consumers consider sustainability while shopping, according to Business News Daily.

So for those setting up their own brand, sustainability is a critical consideration for both a moral and an economic standpoint. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of start-up sustainability, and the key ways to implement it.

The importance of sustainability for small businesses

Sustainable businesses are those that take steps to protect, conserve and replace natural resources. This means taking meaningful and measurable strides forward in reducing an organisation’s environmental impact.

The result of these efforts can also mean running more efficiently and reducing overheads. Sustainability can lower costs by reducing the amount you spend on resources, increasing your profitability in the long term as a result. What’s more, staff, investors and potential customers are more likely to choose you. The 2021 Edelman Global Brand Report found that all three of these groups care a significant amount about environmental issues, so much so that they all consider sustainability when choosing which brands to invest in, shop with and work for.

If those considerations weren’t sufficient, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are also a growing number of legislations in place to ensure businesses comply with sustainability guidelines. The Net Zero campaign aims to get the UK to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and every business has a duty to partake. Research from Swiss Re found that the global economy could lose up to 18% of its total economic value by 2050 due to climate change, making it even more of a major concern for them.

How are businesses practising sustainability?

Many of the world’s leading businesses are taking steps towards greater sustainability. Beauty giants Estee Lauder proudly send zero waste to landfill, as all of their waste is either recycled or incinerated and converted into energy. Google, likewise, diverts 91% of its waste away from landfills and use 50% less energy than average in their data centres.

IKEA manufacture products using only sustainable materials, repurposing 91% of their waste. Similarly, Apple use mostly aluminium in their manufacturing processes as it produces lower emissions than other materials.

Tech powerhouse Intel recycles 75% of its total waste, and diverts all of its hazardous waste away from landfills. Activist organisation Patagonia give 1% of their total earnings to environmental organisations. While this may not sound like a lot, they’d actually donated $89 million and given out over 100 grants since 1985.

But it’s not just large corporations taking steps towards sustainability – small businesses are doing the work too. US shoelace brand Whiskers make 100% of its products from recycled and sustainable materials, including cardboard boxes and recycled plastic bottles. Too Good To Go, an app that tackles food waste, notifies you of nearby restaurants and stores preparing to throw out food and gives you the opportunity to buy it and a heavily discounted price.

Making your business more sustainable

There are plenty of simple ways to incorporate sustainability into the foundation of your small business. Chief among these is reducing, reusing and recycling. The best way to lower your impact on landfills is to aim to send minimal waste there in the first place. Reduce what you use, reuse items where possible, and what can’t be reduced or reused should be recycled. Sticking to this simple rule will significantly cut the amount of waste your business produces.

Using sustainable products in the workplace and making energy-efficient upgrades can also help. Simply switching from traditional to LED lightbulbs can make your lighting 80% more efficient.

Your services and products should be as green as your workplace practices. Aim to use sustainable materials and packaging in your manufacturing processes, and fill your supply chain with green businesses where possible.

Remember that sustainability isn’t something you can achieve alone. If you have a team, create incentives to promote better green practices. Even just making remote work an option can reduce the amount of waste created by commutes, workplace appliances and hardware and more.

If you’re trying to navigate the modern business landscape, we can help. TEDCO Business Support has helped thousands of start-ups get their feet off the ground in the region, helping them start, grow and achieve sustainable success in their field.

logo-erdfGot a business you’d like to launch in 2023? Get in touch with the team at TEDCO Business Support today. Give us a call on 0191 516 61 02 or drop us an email at

What we offer

TEDCO offers one-on-one support provided by a dedicated team of business advisors and a range of pre start seminars available to clients who are taking the first steps into self-employment. This could be looking at an initial idea and developing it further, looking at how to start a business plan, business competitors, business marketing.

Are you eligible?

If you are looking to start and grow a business we’d love to hear from you. Our friendly team of experienced Business Advisors are on hand to take your call to discuss the support available.

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