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  • Writer's pictureJessica Cull

How to Easily Become a More Sustainable Brand

The Government has just called on British small businesses to help them meet their net zero target by 2050. The Together For Our Planet campaign wants SMEs to add the same target to their own sustainability goals. So, are you ready to be net zero?

For most businesses, that answer is a definitive no. Reaching net zero is tough and a challenge that a lot of brands instantly want to shy away from! But, with a planet that’s getting increasingly hotter and businesses accounting for almost 20% of the country's total emissions, it isn’t a question of if you’ll become sustainable, but when.

To kick-start your journey and help you understand more about the challenge ahead, I’ve put together a guide on how to become a more sustainable brand with simple, easy-to-implement changes that you can start making today!

What is Net Zero?

Net zero is the term used for businesses (and countries, people etc.) that aren’t adding to the total carbon emissions in the UK. Well, kind of. It’s actually slightly more complex than that.

If a brand is net zero, they can still be producing carbon emissions. But, they should also be:

  1. Working to lower their emissions

  2. Paying for carbon offset initiatives

A business can work incredibly hard to reduce their CO2 to absolutely nothing, but there are certain cases where they’ll still be adding to the country's emissions. For example, if you have to travel to another country for business purposes, it would be incredibly hard to do that and leave no carbon footprint! But, to be net zero, you’ll travel in the most sustainable way possible and give money towards carbon offsetting to help reduce your impact.

What is Carbon Offsetting?

Carbon offsetting is when a business gives money to certain environmental and social initiatives. These initiatives are designed to lower the total CO2 emissions of the entire world and reduce what’s already in the air and damaging our planet. They can include:

  • Tree planting programmes

  • Anti-deforestation programmes (like buying land in the Amazon rainforest to protect it)

  • Investing in CO2 capture technologies

  • Investing in green tech

  • Educating and helping people in the developing world to reduce their carbon footprint

Whilst investing in these definitely doesn’t remove the CO2 emissions you put out, it can help to counteract them. Remember though that to become net zero you have to actively lower your emissions, too!

Why Should Businesses Care?

Aside from the obvious, planet-saving benefits of reducing your carbon footprint, why should you care?

Well, becoming a sustainable brand actually has a wealth of benefits! Not only will you be helping keep our planet save for years to come, you might also:

  • Keep your business relevant

  • Improve your brand transparency

  • Improve your efficiency

  • Comply with future government regulations on businesses

  • Drive change as an industry leader

Even if those reasons weren’t enough, an independent study by SmartestEnergy found that 80% of consumers are more likely to shop with a brand that has committed to environmental sustainability. If you care about the planet and want to become more sustainable, you’ve just landed on a branding goldmine.

How to Become More Sustainable Quickly

So, we’ve got the point that ensuring your business is sustainable is a must, right? Well, what next?

Reaching net zero won’t happen overnight, but there are ways you can start working towards it now. Let’s dive into some of those.

1. Switch to Green Suppliers

Most businesses instantly think of their own processes when it comes to sustainability. But, if you’re using suppliers with awful environmental policies you’re going to get some second-hand carbon footprint points! You can’t become net-zero if your suppliers aren’t working towards it too.

So, make it a priority to check the companies you’re working with. Take a look at how they source their materials, the packaging they use, and their own moves towards net-zero. If they don’t have an environmental policy? Find an alternative.

2. Monitor Your Carbon Footprint

Your carbon footprint is a great way to measure your environmental impact. Of course, reducing your carbon emissions isn’t the only method of becoming sustainable, but it is one of the biggest. To reduce yours, start by monitoring it.

You can do this through a third-party audit. But, that’s pretty pricey which isn’t ideal for SMEs. Luckily, there are a number of online tools that can calculate your carbon footprint. Check some out to see which is best suited to your business!

3. Offer Flexible Working Hours

Transportation is the most polluting industry in the UK. As a business, you have a responsibility to reduce your transportation emissions and help our country to reach net zero. One of the ways to do this is by offering flexible working, letting your staff work from home.

By now, with a year of lockdowns under our belts, you might already have some systems in place. Keep going with this! By letting people work from home you can drastically reduce transportation emissions. Just look at what happened during lockdown? With calls to stop staff from going into the office, transportation emissions fell by 20% across the year!

4. Switch to Clean Energy

If your business is still running on a fossil fuel based energy source, it’s time to change! There are so many electricity suppliers out there that use 100% renewable energy, like Bulb and So Energy. They’re not expensive, either - in fact they often top the lists of cheapest energy suppliers.

It’s such an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint, and your audience will love to hear that you’re running on clean energy.

5. Ditch Single-Use Plastic

By now, we all know that plastic is a problem. If you weren’t aware, check out this post from National Geographic to find out the extent of the carnage that plastic has caused. If we want to save our world and stop it from turning into a plastic-based graveyard, everyone needs to start ditching plastic.

To start with, look at areas where you use single-use plastic, like:

  • Product wrapping

  • Delivery bags

  • Food containers

  • Stickers and labels

  • Water bottles

Now, look for alternatives! There are plenty out there, as well as ways to cut down on your use of these materials altogether.

6. Create a Green Team

When you’re the CEO of a business, it can be hard to prioritise sustainability. With budgets to stick to, employees to monitor, and a million and one other things on your to do list, you don’t have the time to think green! So, create a team to do it for you.

Just like you have a marketing team and an accounting team, you can have a green team! These people’s sole job will be to drive sustainability in your business. They’ll create clever initiatives that both the planet and your audience will love, and will work with your marketing team to incorporate them into your brand identity and make sure the world knows exactly how you’re doing your bit.

Start Marketing Your Eco-Friendly Business With Sustainable Copywriting

Talking of marketing, it’s an essential part of building a sustainable brand. Even if your sole reason for doing it is that you can’t stand the thought of having a negative impact on the planet, it would be a shame to miss out on those branding benefits.

This is where I come in. As a sustainability copywriter for eco-friendly businesses, I know exactly how to get your eco-values across to the reader. From blog posts on what your green team have been up to and news on sustainability, to engaging web copy that makes it clear that being green is a top priority, I can help you market the good work you’re doing so that those 80% of consumers who want eco-friendly products/services will shop with you.

Get In Touch With Me Today!

If you’re ready to start going green and solidify your businesses place in the future, reach out to me today! Let’s start talking about how I can help you create a sustainable business strategy that sells.

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