In 2020, small businesses just simply can’t afford to ignore the growing need to implement sustainability as a core facet of their business. No longer is it acceptable to just sit by and take a reactive approach to sustainability. These days, more and more customers, employees and the general public now expect businesses to be accountable, transparent and approach sustainability holistically, as an integral part of their business.

You only have to look at global companies who are drastically changing company processes to see that sustainability is a must. Adidas has created a greener supply chain and has targeted specific issues like dyeing and eliminating plastic bags, and Nestlé has made improvements in areas such as product life cycle, climate, water efficiency and waste, and this is just the beginning. Although these large companies are taking important steps, internal and external stakeholders continue to demand more, only highlighting that this is just the start of what will be expected from all businesses in the years to come.

While implementing sustainability-focused processes within a business can appear as a drain on time and financial resources, small businesses can truly benefit from early adoption, through increased longevity, credibility, trust and favourability.

Establishing business longevity
By implementing sustainable strategies and processes, you are taking a key step towards cementing the longevity of your business. Taking a proactive approach instead of reactive only strengthens the positive perception of your business while demonstrating an understanding of meeting the evolving needs of consumers. Being one step ahead of the curve means your business is anticipating what will be the future as demonstrated in businesses like Amazon, who early on, capitalised on the Internet and now have a large piece of the global ecommerce pie.

Sustainability, the powerful tool to increase trust and credibility
Showing definitely that your small business has genuinely given thought to sustainability, prioritised and demonstrated purposeful action creates a further level of trust and credibility to your business. It highlights strengths in a business, including integrity, transparency, commitment and strong core values that ultimately creates greater brand value.

Meeting the growing demand for sustainability from your stakeholders
We are seeing an ever growing shift in the needs from our stakeholders, who are demanding businesses do more than provide just good products, services and profits. Stakeholders are choosing to do business and support those that are creating something more meaningful to employees, customers, the environment and society. These stakeholders are choosing businesses that align with their core values, many of which are increasingly choosing to support sustainable options.

Maintaining a competitive edge
With the explosion of the Internet, it has created an abundance of options which means greater competition amongst businesses and the need to further establish your point of difference. While two products at a similar price point can perhaps be alike, consumers will ultimately choose the brand that resonates with them thus creating the competitive edge. Sustainability can provide an incredible advantage as highlighted in the points above, that enables your business to truly stand out amongst your competitors, making your business a cut above the rest.

Source: Inside Small Business