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6 Ways SMEs Can (and Should) Embrace Environmental Responsibility for Long-Term Success

In recent years the ideas of sustainability and environmental responsibility have completely swept over the corporate landscape. What is even more important, these changes are taking the strongest root in the SME tier which makes up the bulk of the global economy.

One of the reasons behind this development is that, unlike the upper echelons where green policies usually serve to score easy PR points, small and medium enterprises are able to use these ideas to score major changes in terms of efficiency and profitability.

Still, environmental responsibility is a very broad topic, so if you are inclined to jump on this bandwagon, losing focus can make your efforts scattered. Well, let us take a look then at some of the most beneficial and tried and true green SME strategies to nudge you in the right direction.

Trim Down the Energy Consumption

Power consumption is one of the most important talking points of the global green movement so it makes sense to start your SME overhaul with this one. Fortunately, the everyday options you have at your disposal are almost endless.

Still, start by replacing the traditional lighting options with more contemporary LED or CFL bulbs, using smart plugs and extension cords that will eliminate the phantom drains, and scheduling the bulk of the critical chores during the daytime hours.

If you are ready for bigger expenses, invest in energy-efficient equipment, and make sure they are regularly maintained.

Implement Flexible Work Models

And by that, we are, of course, referring to remote and hybrid shifts as well as 100% telecommuting. Speaking strictly in terms of employee morale and efficiency, these options have been known to tangibly improve workers’ output.

On the other hand, sending a portion of your staff to work from home also allows you more flexible scheduling and greater utilization of the enterprise resources.

You are also soothing out the carbon footprint your gig puts out on a day-to-day basis and relieving the commuting impact. As long as you know how to keep the remote workers engaged it’s definitely worth trying.

Embrace the Three Rs Philosophy

Speaking in terms of environmental responsibility, these three Rs stand for:

  • Recycle
  • Reuse
  • Reduce

These simple ideas cover a whole array of efforts ranging from trimming down paper usage to eliminating food waste (it can be turned into compost) and using old boxes for packaging. But, you can extend to any resource in your company.

As long as you are getting efficient performance, you should repair hot water systems and other important, robust assets. Only when they are beyond saving in terms of waste should you consider major overhauls.

The PCs that are unfit for some more demanding tasks can be moved to less taxing duties. The keyword here is frugality.

Encourage Sustainable Behaviors and Practices

Encourage Sustainable Behaviors and Practices

In other words, wasteful behavior should be penalized while responsible practices should be encouraged with small incentives and benefits. We are talking about things like reducing waste, using public transport for commuting, and buying sustainable products.

Of course, if you want to get good results, you should put all these policies and suggestions into writing and make the rulebook, goals, and strategies publicly available. Also, try holding occasional seminars regarding these critical topics. Your workers will take green topics closer to their hearts only if they are informed about their relevance.

Put Greater Focus on Cloud Resources

This simple move will score you points across the board. First, since they are cloud-based online tools allow you greater options for remote collaboration. Second, no matter whether we are talking about budgeting tools or ERP systems, cloud tools use only digital documents, and that practically eliminates the need for paper in your company.

That entails less space required for storage and less energy used to keep this space operational. Finally, these assets are also very scalable so you will be able to make most of them regardless of your market position. It’s a sure win no matter how you take it.

Get in Touch With Other Like Minded Companies

Last but not least we would like to remind you that the struggle for a sustainable society isn’t a fight that can be fought by a single SME. If you want to produce a tangible change you need to support other businesses with the hat in this ring.

So, buy organic products, support local farmers, and so on. Of course, your reasons don’t need to be exclusively altruistic. Partnering up with other green brands can allow you to buy products in bulk, have a stronger negotiation position, tap into their built-in audiences, and even engage in joint initiatives. This safety net can give you much stronger market legs.

So, these were the top six ways your SME can start its green overhaul while at the same time moving the needle in terms of efficiency, productivity, and ROI. And this is the most important thing to take out of this conversation – environmental responsibility is not just another feather in your brand hat.

Approaching these issues seriously and with clear goals will also put your enterprise on a very solid foundation. The examples we gave you above should set you in the right direction for the time being.

By Mike Johnston

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