You can’t miss the proliferation of green businesses on every level, from small operators like Wanderer Bracelets that avoids outsourcing in favor of local artisans, to big brands like Nike that promise to reduce their carbon footprint and improve working conditions for their employees. At the same time, sustainability encourages businesses to stay adaptable and agile -- two key qualities for growing your business.
Going green is a great initiative: it helps to save the environment, and it makes customers feel good about their purchases while ensuring the local community is rewarded for their work.
As a business owner, you can take advantage of the growing trend in favor of sustainable development. In fact, businesses can turn green market trends into a unique selling proposition that sets them apart from their competition. All it takes for a business to succeed at going green is agility and adaptability.
SMBs may find it easier to stay agile and adaptable, as most of the founders maintain primary control of the shareholding structure. By staying independent, they do not have to deal with external shareholders being involved in the decision making process, enabling them to act faster.
It may be more expensive to develop and produce green products and services when you start committing your business to supporting sustainability, yet the green market is gaining momentum as customers become more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases.
In “The Big Green Opportunity for small business in the U.S.”, 76% of survey respondents strongly agreed that their green products and services are profitable. In fact, 31% of these companies even reported that their green products and services were more profitable than their non-green ones.
So if you’re interested to grow your profits by incorporating sustainability values into your business, here are two green goals to get you started:
Supply chain visibilityDid you know that 19% of food manufacturers around the globe can’t determine the name or address or all their suppliers in the supply chain?
When you decide to go green, you’ll have to start looking into your supply chain to ensure you’re using sustainable sources that adheres to the highest standards of ethics, health, and safety.
For a start, ensure you have open lines of communication with your trading partners. In the case of Pilot Coffee Roasters, they travel directly to coffee farms in Central and South America to select their coffee first-hand to ensure the quality of their beans, and to ensure they develop great relationships with their suppliers.
Great supplier relationships are the foundation for better collaboration and communication. Better communication gives a company the opportunity to improve revenues by reducing lead time and decreasing the likelihood of out-of-stock situations occurring.
And with better visibility of your supply chain, you’ll know if any supply chain problems happen on the producer side, and you’ll be able to take preventive measures to help you weather these disruptions.
Going leanGoing green often comes with the opportunity to go lean.
Going lean means you’ll be able to enjoy lower costs, which translates to greater profits.
Automating processes and moving to the cloud will save you time and effort on maintaining files of printed documents and receipts, and it’ll also limit the use of paper to save the trees.
By moving your business online, you’ll have all your purchase and sales orders at your fingertips, making it easy for you to keep track of your business records. There are integrations for every purpose, from accounting to inventory management, and these allow you to keep costs low while maintaining a close eye on your business.
Another benefit of going lean means you’ll be able to deliver fresher products to your customer and reduce excess inventories. Like Pilot Coffee Roasters, you can try to avoid carrying big amounts of final inventory on hand, which prevents the risk of spoilage while guaranteeing their customers freshness and quality.
The green market will only continue growing, especially since millennials (age 21-34) are responsive to sustainability actions -- up to twelve times more so than baby boomers. Currently, 55% of global online consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.
Finally, as millennials become the largest share of the labor force, the demand for green products and services are slated to rise, and businesses will need to commit themselves to positive social and environmental impacts in order to remain competitive.