Climate change has been a rising concern in the general population for years now, especially in built up cities like London, and consumers are taking steps to ensure that they are avoiding supporting businesses that contribute to toxic emissions or large amounts of avoidable waste. Furthermore, politicians are driving green initiatives to persuade businesses to take steps towards a more sustainable way of working.
Why should SMEs become more sustainable?
The RSA states that SMEs make up 99% of businesses in the UK, with 1.1 million SMEs spread across London. With such an overwhelming amount of the private sector being made up of small to medium sized businesses, committing to working towards sustainability could make a huge contribution towards tackling climate change. If that isn’t enough motivation, there are some very real fiscal benefits to making your business more sustainable:
- More attractive to independent consumers – Shoppers are much more savvy and well-researched than previous generations and consumers choose to support businesses that are in line with their personal views. Adopting a more sustainable approach will ensure that you are reaching a wide audience of supportive and loyal customers.
- Win tenders with large corporations or government bodies – It’s not just consumers who are looking to be more green. Large corporations and government bodies are under pressure to improve their sustainability and are more likely to engage with SMEs that are supporting their green initiatives, meaning you’re more likely to beat out your competitors to large public sector or corporate contracts.
- Reduce your outgoings – Moving to a more sustainable business model will increase your bottom line. For example, by opting to generate your own electricity via solar panels, you’ll not only reduce your own energy bills but you can sell any excess power generated to the national grid for a profit.
Steps SMEs can take to reach their goals
Now you know the benefits of adopting the SDGs and making your business in London more sustainable, there are some initial steps you can take to increase your company’s ‘green’ rating straight off the bat.
Check your energy performance
The first step in increasing the sustainability of your SME is to know how sustainable your business currently is so you know where improvements can be made. A London EPC will allow you to see how your company is using energy and allow you to take steps to make your company more energy efficient. You can use your energy performance certificate to apply for an energy efficient grant to help make the necessary changes.
Aim for zero waste to landfill
Set yourself a goal to send zero waste to landfill and instead reduce, reuse and recycle everything. You can give away old furniture or appliances to charity, go digital to use less paper and even start a composting bin for food waste. Recycling in London has never been easier or more accessible and you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save by fixing or reusing things rather than simply replacing everything.
Utilise remote working
One of the most effective ways to make your business more sustainable and massively reduce your energy bills is to go remote. While not all businesses have the option to work fully remote, there are a lot of tasks or jobs that can be completed just as easily from home as the office. Reducing the need for a physical office, or downsizing to a smaller premise, will mean that you will require less energy for heat and electricity, less office resources, and your company will reduce your carbon footprint generated by commuters. This will not only make your company much greener but it will save a vast amount of money on resources too.
Due to the developments in greener technologies and a government commitment to reducing our commissions, turning towards sustainability has never made more sense for London SMEs. From the marketing benefits of achieving a green status, to the fiscal benefits of adopting renewable energy sources, reaching your sustainability goals is a sure-fire way to make your business more financially secure – something that’s on a lot of SME’s minds as we head into another year of lockdowns and market disruptions.