Sustainability is on everybody's agenda at the moment. Governments, large corporations, protest movements, pop culture,...everyone is talking about it. And so should you. Whether it’s being environmentally friendly, sustainable, eco-aware, or going green - there’s always lots your business can do to help our planet. Not only is going green great for our planet, but it can also be great for your business's success. This is why we've compiled this short guide to X reasons for your company to become more eco-friendly.
1) Government Schemes and Incentives
Green businesses can benefit from several government incentives and schemes. There is several taxes your business may be charged with or advantages it could gain by being more sustainable:
- Climate Change Levy: This is a tax charged on the energy used by companies. It is charged to businesses in the industrial, public services, commercial and agricultural sectors, and functions as an incentive for companies to operate more efficiently in terms of energy. Your company will get charged on electricity, gas and solid fuels used. If your business saves energy, you can not only reduce your carbon footprint but also save money.
- CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme: The CRC is a government scheme. The scheme aims to cut down carbon emissions to improve energy efficiency in organizations using high levels of energy. Registered businesses are obliged to monitor and report their CO2 emissions from gas and electricity use and buy allowances to cover their annual emissions.
- Emissions Trading: Emissions trading, also called 'cap trading' or 'allowance trading', works towards pre-set environmental goals. This is constituted by a cap on pollution and tradable allowances, a limit set to the pollution allowed to be emitted into the environment by an entity. For example, if a business is covered by the EU Emissions Trading System, it must meet targets by cutting trading emissions and trading emissions allowances.
- Capital Allowances on Energy-Efficient Items: This simply means that you, as a small business owner, can receive capital allowances when buying energy-efficient and low- and zero-carbon technology for your business.
- Landfill Tax: If your company disposes of waste using a landfill site, you will be taxed on top of your normal landfill fees. With some exemptions, the tax is charged by weight.
- Aggregates Levy: Businesses can get charged with this tax if they exploit aggregates. In the United Kingdom, this includes digging, dredging, and importing sand, gravel, and rock.
2) Legal requirements
Legal requirements will vary from sector to sector. However, many businesses can find themselves faced with the legal requirement to apply sustainable business practices. These requirements could be as simple as rubbish removal, vehicle emissions produced by company activity, or the wording used in customer-facing interaction. Legal obligations for businesses when it comes to sustainable practices can be manifold. For example, in the United Kingdom, the Chancellor's roadmap on new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements in finance states that companies and financial products will be required to report their environmental impact against the UK Green Taxonomy.
3) Gain a competitive advantage
Being a leader in green business can considerably improve your business's reputation. Climate change has become a prevalent topic and eco-friendly companies are looked upon very favorably by a lot of customers. Being known for not addressing climate change in the way you live your business's company culture can reflect badly on your organization and frighten off customers. Also, being environmentally friendly is a great USP to push when creating a narrative about your company. How many of your competitors have an environmentally friendly USP? Or are talking about the environment to their customers? Even if it’s just using electric cars as company cars or only using recycled materials or other sustainable materials - if other sustainable businesses are getting a good reputation from it, so can yours.
4) Your Customers Are Going Green
Have you noticed that your competitors and other large businesses are going green? That is probably because it appeals to their customers and therefore proves a viable business strategy. Green business ideas are gaining reactions and customers are more and more environmentally conscious. Their increasing environmental awareness means that the business world has to adapt. Additionally, you could also find that being green is an important consideration for any future investor.
5) It’s The Right Thing To Do
It simply is the right thing to do - saving our planet is one of the most crucial challenges of our times. Business leaders should set a good example by pushing environmental sustainability and increasing awareness. You might not be able to add Karma to your forecast but we’ve all seen the signs of what’s going to happen if we don’t take better care of our planet.
Green Business & Sustainability FAQs?
- Does a business have to have an environmental policy?
While having an environmental policy is not obligatory, it does showcase your company's commitment to sustainability in business. As explained in this article, there are several benefits in going above and beyond when it comes to making your business more environmentally friendly. This is why an increasing number of businesses are choosing to put an environmental policy in place.
- How do sustainability practices benefit businesses?
There are several ways in which having a more sustainable business can help you and your company. First and foremost, it is the right thing to do. But also, there are tax benefits, you are likely to have the competitive advantage as consumers are growing more and more aware of sustainability issues, and your business might even be legally obliged to adhere to certain sustainability regulations.
- What is greenwashing?
Greenwashing describes the practice of using marketing and PR to wrongly persuade the public that a company's services or products are environmentally-friendly.