How to be a truly green business
Businesses have a big role to play in creating a better world, because they can inspire communities, families and individuals to make a difference. There are lots of ways they can take the lead in helping the environment, which is something we love to do at ecostore!
If your business has started the year looking for new ideas, we’ve got plenty of tips.
- Work together
When we think about creating a better world, we need inspiration. Partnership gives us that, because working with people who share our vision for a brighter future shows us new ways to get there.
Partnership makes ecostore a really green business, because we can have an impact greater than we could alone.
We look for like minded companies in every part of what we do – we need our suppliers of everything from ingredients to office paper to be as environmentally responsible as we are. We look for really sustainable companies in New Zealand and around the world who are true eco innovators to excite us to do better. Some of them join us as part of countrywide organisations where businesses can come together to take action, lobby and give awards, like the Sustainable Business Council. We actively support other companies, whether it’s startups who can benefit from our hearing about our journey, or environmental and social causes we can give time and resources to. Try thinking local – a like minded business might be just along the street, or there might be a local park, beach or stream your business could clean up through regular volunteering.
- Get some green credentials
Independent verification of the way you do business with respect for the earth means consumers can trust that you’re truly green. Certifications like Enviromark Diamond and CarboNZero measure our commitment to lessening our environmental impact, and they’re widely recognised. They’re the foundation for us to constantly improve our production processes, packaging and product lifecycle, no matter how small the improvement. Green buildings are another way to demonstrate your standards of green business – in New Zealand there’s the Green Star programme, which gets your business performing in areas like energy and water use, transport, emissions and innovation.
- Make your workplace a statement
What people see when they visit your business tells them a lot about how you do things. Why not green up your space with a living wall or some plants to show that you believe in healthy indoor air and a cleaner, more relaxing environment for staff? How about natural light and spaces where people can come together to share ideas? Or energy efficient lighting and recycling systems that make it easy to cut down on landfill waste, food waste and e-waste? If you have a transport fleet, are you making commutes greener with electric or hybrid vehicles?
- Make values your foundation
Being cruelty free with no animal testing, and supporting fair trade and ethical sourcing are great values to put at the heart of your business. And they show the people who buy from you that you care about more than just making money. And the money your business makes can be invested in what helps the environment. One way we do this through our not for profit arm The Fairgound Foundation, which has inspiring projects on the go like Bucket – an app that supports conservation groups that are protecting New Zealand’s unique biodiversity.
5. From sustainable to restorative
To care for the environment at the next level, your business can move from sustainable practices to restorative steps. The Sustainable Business Network looks four areas of transformation – renewable energy, strengthening communities and people’s wellbeing, efficient use of resources, and restorative environmental practices. The fourth area can really transform your business because it prompts thinking about working with the natural landscape and giving back to the environment instead of drawing on it.
Malcolm Rands, ecostore’s co-founder, thinks companies need to go beyond sustainability to practices that actually restore the environment they depend on. “I’m saying, why not every time we touch something, we make it better? When your product is finished, look at what it becomes next. That starts from the get go [of product design]”.
Tips for action:
- Bring sustainability into the smallest things your business does
- Find out how your business can support its people
- Examine your partners and supply chain – are you working with sustainable companies?
- Get certifications that show your business is genuinely sustainable
- Find sustainable businesses that are inspiring and follow their lead – freely share ideas
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