Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw an incredible change in nature. Because humans weren’t driving, the air became cleaner. Because we weren’t boating, canals became clearer. Humanity’s impact on the environment generally isn’t a positive one.
It can feel overwhelming to make a difference in the complex issue of climate change and environmental impact, but the truth is that every little step you take matters. That’s why starting an environmentally conscious business is a great opportunity. You can provide products and services others need while also helping the planet.
How do you start an environmentally sustainable business? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Decide on Your Business Structure
You might think that the first step to creating a company is to decide what product or service you’ll offer. While that’s undoubtedly important, it’s not the primary decision. Instead, think about what type of business you want to create.
There are non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. A non-profit has particular rules that it operates by but can be a great way to bring your funds together with others’ to benefit the environment. Everything from accounting to the structure of a nonprofit organization is different from that of the usual company, so make sure you do your research.
If you choose to make a profit while making a difference, you still need to decide between various business structures. A limited liability company (LLC) is a simple way to protect your personal assets without needing too much bureaucracy in your company. However, as your business grows, you may want to transition to a corporation.
The structure of your business will help determine the approach you take in your environmentally conscious company. From selling a product to soliciting donations, the choice is yours.
Think About What You’ll Offer to the Public
If you’re a for-profit business, it’s time to think about what product or service you can offer. Some companies create useful products and then use the proceeds to benefit specific causes, while others donate their products to those in need, in proportion to sales.
On the other hand, you can decide that you want to sell a product or service that directly helps the planet. For instance, you might choose to work in solar power. You can sell components for solar panels or provide repair and maintenance. This positions your company to advocate for alternative energy and provide education to consumers about electric power.
You might decide to go into business as someone who picks up materials and delivers them to recycling facilities. Or, perhaps you want to create and sell organic food and other products at a local farmer’s market.
You can also provide traditional services with an ecologically-friendly perspective, such as green cleaning services, eco-friendly fashion, or environmentally conscious beauty care.
As you build your business, you’ll come across new ways to advocate for change and make an impact. However, it’s helpful to have at least one idea in place upfront so you can effect change immediately.
Make Sure Your Business Practices Line Up With Your Mission
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your business is focusing so much on the external mission that you forget to make sure your internal processes match your message.
For instance, if you focus on waste reduction, is your packaging low-impact? Do you use responsible plastics, or even skip them in favor of plant-based products and recyclables? You can also make sure that your packaging and production use alternative energy. If you don’t have room for solar on your property, consider buying electricity from a solar provider instead of a traditional fossil fuel source.
You can also use digital tools to reduce the use of paper in your company. Encourage contracts to be digitally signed and have people keep essential records in high-security online storage. Everything from Human Resources to IT can be streamlined in this way.
Finally, make sure to use responsible production, whether at home or overseas. Avoid adding to the problem accidentally by carefully researching your suppliers and choosing sustainability over the lowest possible cost. Audit your energy use regularly and take steps to reduce it.
When you walk the talk, your customers will see your integrity and it will not only boost loyalty, but it will also make your brand more credible in the marketplace.
Combine Business With Passion
It can be hard to get up and go to work every day even if you have the best job there is. When you combine your business with a passion for making a difference, though, you’ll have an extra incentive. You know that every day your business will have a positive impact on the planet!
A passion-focused business also attracts loyal customers and hard-working employees. People love to have purpose behind their activities, and when you focus on building an environmentally conscious business, you’ll help them do exactly that.
There’s never been a better time to make a difference. Get started building your business today!
This guest post was authored by Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner is a writer, mom and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader. And then dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons, without getting groans and eye rolls in response.
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