There are many reasons to run a more eco-friendly business. Beyond the environmental benefits, businesses that reduce the negative impact of climate change also stand to boost their brand image, reduce business costs and increase revenue.
Some of the most popular eco-friendly initiatives for businesses include lowering energy usage, recycling, minimising waste of resources and avoiding harmful practices. Other ways businesses can become more eco-friendly is by adopting more sustainable material sourcing and manufacturing processes, and making use of less harmful packaging and shipping methods.
In this guide we’ll cover 3 measures you can implement to run a more eco-friendly business.
Adopt solar energy
Renewable energy solutions, like solar, are gaining momentum in South Africa, as a more eco-friendly option. Solar helps businesses to save money in the long run against rising electricity costs. Additionally, solar reduces production time lost due to load shedding.
To encourage the move to renewable energy, the government has made available a rooftop solar incentive for eligible businesses to invest in solar PV. From 1 March 2023, businesses will be able to reduce their taxable income by 125% of the cost of an investment in renewables.
Businesses that are renting can also make the move to solar. There are now more commercial properties available that offer renewable energy sources such as solar power. Renters can also find eco-friendly features in these businesses such as solar thermal water heaters and energy-efficient lights.
Make use of reusable packaging
Consumers now want more environmentally-friendly packaging options. Businesses that respond to this demand not only benefit from better customer perception, but cost savings too. While initially expensive, going green cuts down on the actual amount of packaging materials used to ship goods which saves on costs in the long run.
Some of the options available to businesses looking to make the switch are reusable or returnable packaging, such as glass which can be cleaned and reused. Recyclable packaging which is made of materials that can be reprocessed for use in new products such as glass, metal, card, paper and certain plastics, is also an option for businesses. Lastly, biodegradable packaging is made from materials that naturally disintegrate and decompose.
Reduce business travel
Remote work and the work from home (WFH) trend is praised for providing more work flexibility. What is less spoken ab0ut it that it has lower environmental impact than working in-office. WFH eliminates the need for a daily commute, which in turn reduces the amount of CO2 emissions each driver generates.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced business travel. This includes travel for client meetings, conferences, exhibitions, trade fairs and company retreats. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet have replaced these type of events.
The change to more sustainable alternatives has both immediate and long-term perks for quick acting businesses. It is, however, critical that your business walk the talk to find long term success. It’s not enough to market your business as eco-friendly, consumers expect brands to live up to these claims.