How to Make Your Small Business More Sustainable: Five Green Tools for Business Owners | Green to grow your business

Going green can save your business money, streamline operations and demonstrate to customers, suppliers and investors that you are committed to playing your part in tackling the climate crisis. But where to start ? Here are five online tools that can help you get started on your small business sustainability journey.

1 Carbon Calculators
Companies around the world are pledging to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. For many, the first step is to calculate the size of their carbon footprint; once armed with this data, you can start working towards net zero carbon by reducing and eliminating carbon dioxide and other GHGs (greenhouse gases).

Calculating a company’s carbon footprint provides insight into how a company’s day-to-day operations affect the environment, helps identify where it uses large amounts of energy, improves business operations and provides valuable data on sustainability to stakeholders.

There are a number of online carbon calculators available for businesses, including the Carbon Trust’s SME Carbon Footprint Calculator, which has been designed to help UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). to measure their carbon footprint in accordance with the guidelines of the GHG protocol. This includes Scope 1 emissions, direct emissions from fuel and process, and Scope 2 emissions from purchased electricity for the assets they operate. The SME Carbon Footprint Calculator and the SME Climate Hub Business Carbon Calculator are free.

2 carbon offset tools
Not all carbon emissions can be eliminated or reduced immediately. Instead, small businesses can offset them by investing in projects designed to counter emissions. One of the most popular forms of carbon offsetting is tree planting, which can be done through programs such as Ecologi and Treeapp. As trees grow, they remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen into the atmosphere, which means that every tree planted effectively turns into a carbon store. While not a perfect solution, any company aiming for net zero should reduce all the emissions they can and only offset what they absolutely cannot. But, done right, carbon offsetting can be a positive action as part of a broader environmentally conscious approach.

Another way to offset your emissions is through carbon sequestration (that is, the long-term storage of carbon in plants, soils, geologic formations, and the ocean). Curious to know more? Patch.io provides access to a wide range of carbon credit projects across a range of approaches, locations and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

3 Impact evaluation tools
Officially, the B Impact Assessment Questionnaire is the first step towards B Corp certification – which requires companies to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. But even if you don’t plan to apply for certification, this free online questionnaire is a valuable exercise for any SME looking to improve its sustainability credentials.

David Morel, Founder and CEO of Tiger Recruitment, described the B impact assessment as useful for his own business. “It forces you to look at your business in five key areas; community, customers, environment, governance and workers,” he explains. “This is not a quick box-ticking exercise; it requires thoughtful responses with supporting documentation, but rewards you with a report on your performance, highlighting areas for improvement.

The B Corp Climate Collective, in partnership with the University of Oxford, has also developed the new B Climate Toolkit – a set of tools to guide companies towards the goal of net zero emissions.

Surplus electronic components can be refurbished for reuse or reduced to their basic components. Photography: Estradaanton/Getty Images/iStockphoto

4 Electronic waste management
Responsible recycling practices help reduce GHG emissions and use less energy than manufacturing new gadgets and appliances. Thousands of appliances, appliances and other electronic equipment are disposed of every day, many of them by companies. Electronic waste, or e-waste, is one of the largest sources of waste in the world today.

Stone Group is a circular IT provider with an IT asset disposal facility where they can refurbish or recycle old IT equipment such as desktops, laptops, monitors, printers and servers etc. . The company is committed to ensuring that no waste ends up in landfill. Thanks to the Stone 360 ​​application, companies can easily organize the collection of their broken or redundant IT equipment. Items that can be salvaged are given a second life, and those that cannot are recycled down to their core components.

5 Reusable packaging
Sustainable packaging can be a small business’ biggest contribution to the environment. However, as cardboard has replaced plastic as a more environmentally friendly option, the massive increase in online shopping in recent years has led to questions about cardboard’s green credentials, as it increasingly becoming a large part of landfills.

Reusable packaging company Boox offers an alternative to single-use packaging products, making boxes that can be folded and flipped over for reuse. Customers simply scan a QR code that tells them how to return the box sustainably, and when the box reaches its end of life, the corrugated polypropylene is broken down into plastic flakes which are made into new Boox boxes.

If you want help greening – and growing – your business, the British Business Bank should be your first stop. Dedicated to making financial markets work better for small businesses, it provides free financial tools and expert information to help you move in the right direction. Find out more at british-business-bank.co.uk/finance-hub/sustainability

About Debra D. Johnson

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