Does sustainability matter for your business? It should. 70% of consumers think it’s important for brands to be eco-friendly. And almost half of consumers are willing to drop a brand that doesn’t align with their personal values. Focusing on sustainable business practices can help you gain and retain customers and employees, save on energy costs, and protect your brand’s reputation. You may even be able to take advantage of financial incentives and/or tax deductions by going green.
It’s no surprise that many businesses are beginning to focus more on sustainable business practices. For example, many industry conferences are now online. Even real estate agents use virtual tours to show their clients homes. In fact, all types of businesses are getting creative when it comes to being green. Lego now uses plant-based materials for some of their blocks. Retailers and eCommerce stores are choosing green packaging or materials. Ride-share and food delivery services often serve multiple locations with a single car trip.
So, how can your small business become more sustainable? Let’s explore four sustainable business practices for small businesses.
Foster a remote-first work environment
Prioritizing remote work at your business can help cut down the greenhouse gas emissions. Commuters in the US spend an average of 27.6 minutes one-way, and this time spent traveling to work has increased year-over-year. All that driving adds up: transportation accounts for almost a third of emissions according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
One major step to take towards small business sustainability is to cut down on the amount of time your employees spend commuting. You don’t have to go fully-remote—even setting aside a few days a week for at-home work can cut down on emissions. If you decided to maintain an office, it’s a good idea to be remote-first to make sure that those in-house and those at home can work successfully together. Foster a remote-first environment by using small business tools for your team, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. If you need to chat on the phone, try a VoIP phone service, which uses the internet instead of a phone line. You can also regularly run virtual team building activities to strengthen your teams’ bonds.
Since many small businesses rely on electronics, you might have some old or outdated electronics laying around. In fact, all technology has a lifespan. If it’s time to replace computers, your modem, or other electronics for your business, it’s important to repair, donate, or recycle your e-waste. Disposing of e-waste improperly can have a massive impact on the environment, leaking toxic metals into the soil or groundwater. Before you recycle your e-waste, be sure to wipe any sensitive data or information off desktop computers, laptops, or tablets.
Choose a green cloud
Small businesses need tools for file storage, websites, email service, and many other applications. Data centers power Cloud-based systems, and processing consumes a lot of electricity. In your efforts to green your small business, make sure your data center takes sustainability seriously. Be sure to evaluate your provider to ensure they meet your sustainability standards. If you’re building your own server room, Lumen recommends setting energy standards to avoid overusing air conditioning and electricity.
Faster and more reliable than traditional internet, fiber optic internet can also be considered more sustainable. When it comes to copper cables, the materials used can have some negative environmental impacts. Extracting and refining copper ore requires a lot of energy and produces toxic waste. On the other hand, fiber optic fibers are made of glass or plastic, which require less energy to manufacture.
Fiber optic networks also take less equipment and power to get service to your small business. Because fiber optic fibers can transmit data farther, the network requires less energy-consuming equipment in the field. Fiber internet also requires less power to run, making it more efficient and sustainable. According to a recent study, fiber internet produced the least amount of carbon emissions when HD video was streamed through a data center. So not only is fiber fast and reliable, but it’s also a greener option for internet service.
CenturyLink is proud to offer Small Business Fiber Internet to our customers. See if fiber internet is available near you.
Going green can have numerous benefits for your small business, helping you save money and preserving your brand reputation in the process. For more tips for your small business, be sure to visit the Small Business section of the CenturyLink Discover blog.