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Businesses of all kinds are making sustainability a priority. In today’s world, a sustainable business model is practically a necessity. Whether you own a brick and mortar store, a tech startup or even a law firm, the time to adopt a sustainable business model is now.
Although adopting sustainable practices might seem expensive or out of reach, there are many easy and cost-effective ways to weave corporate sustainability into the fabric of your company.
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Ashlee Piper, sustainability expert and author of Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet. says corporate sustainability can come in many forms.
“There really is no one-size-fits-all rubric for sustainability… It really is a personally developed, choose-your-own adventure game,” Piper says.
Although small business owners with smaller profit margins might be intimidated by the idea of committing to a sustainable business model, Piper says small businesses are actually better positioned to adopt effective corporate sustainability practices because they’re usually more nimble and adaptable than large companies.
What is corporate sustainability all about?
Corporate sustainability refers to long-term, transparent strategies that prioritize the environmental, social and ethical realites of your business. It is a broad term, and it can be implemented in many different ways.
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Some businesses might prioritize sourcing locally or cutting carbon emissions, while others might emphasize giving back a portion of their profits to NGOs or social programs. Certain employees might be interested in cruelty free and vegan food options, while others care more about closed-loop manufacturing. It’s up to you to decide exactly which sustainable path to take and how you go about achieving those goals.
Piper suggests starting small and building momentum until you are ready to implement a more robust corporate sustainability model at your business. Ultimately you will want to have sustainability as a core aspect of your company. Long term, you should plan to take on advisors dedicated to your sustainability goals and even include sustainability efforts in your fiscal reporting. You don’t have to start here (and shouldn’t), but keep in mind that the bigger corporate sustainability actions you take, the more financial and ecological payoff you will see in the long run.
Here are tips that will help you build momentum in corporate sustainability action at your small business and ultimately help you run a more sustainable company. First are some low-hanging fruit, and then tips for building larger projects that will help your company save money …….