There’s all sorts of great ways to help make your business more sustainable and have a positive impact. Some businesses might have a sustainability purpose core to what they do, like reducing food waste, wildlife conservation, or waterway restoration. Others might want to become more sustainable, through initiatives like reducing waste or consumption, shifting to a green fleet of vehicles, transitioning to a more sustainable business model, such as circular economy or regenerative agriculture, or installing solar panels.
Either way, what works best for your business depends entirely on the impacts your business has on the planet and what action(s) you need to take to manage this. No matter how you’d like to approach it, creating a more sustainable business will help you contribute to making the world a healthier and more resilient place to live.
However, we know it’s not always easy for small businesses to priortise sustainability projects when resources are stretched. That’s why we’ve made it one of the categories to apply for in the Xero Beautiful Business Fund – our recently announced initiative celebrating small businesses, empowering success and helping to accelerate their growth. There’s over NZ$750k in funding available globally to support small businesses across four categories.
If you’re a business that already operates in the sustainability space, and wants to get your next project off the ground or if you’re keen to make part of your business more sustainable but don’t know quite where to start, we’ve put together some ideas that might inspire you.
Energy efficiency across your business
Are you looking to invest in any areas of your business to reduce your footprint and energy bills? For example, you might be looking to invest in renewable energy or solar, upgrading your plant or equipment like air conditioning or automated light sensor systems, or make changes to your products and services so they’re more efficient? By using less energy, you may even save on your power bills. Your national, state or local government may have some resources and support available on this topic.
Recycling infrastructure or better waste management
Do you have the appropriate waste facilities across your business to ensure that you are maximising your diversion of waste away from landfill and into recycling streams? Are you considered organic recycling and composting opportunities? This is where it’s handy to remember the three Rs: reduce > reuse > recycle.
Can you utilise more sustainable packaging?
For any business that sells a physical product, some additional funding might help to transition to minimal, compostable or recyclable packaging. You can then work towards zero waste throughout your product life cycle.
Investing more locally
Re-considering any overseas production or manufacturing? This is a great opportunity to think about reducing product mileage and investing in more local business and economies.
For any transport-heavy organisations, there are a lot of ways to reduce your impact and costs – some countries are even providing incentives to do so. There are a range of Hybrid/EV vehicle types on the market these days which you could apply this fund to.
Rainwater collection, solar hot water systems, automated irrigation systems, or upgrades to any heavy water using plants and equipment could be a solution if you are looking to reduce the environmental footprint at your business location.
Invest in sustainability services
Have you ever talked to a consultant about what the main impacts of your business are and how you may be able to reduce them? Consider undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment to map this all out for you.
Understand your carbon footprint
If you’ve never done a carbon baseline assessment, it’s the first major step for any organisation that is interested in measuring and managing its carbon footprint. You could use these funds to invest in technology or consultancies who can provide this for your business.
There are plenty of ways to create a more sustainable business, so have a think about how you can do it in yours. Xero also offers some great resources if you’re interested in learning about how to operate more sustainably.
Once you’ve got your great idea and you’re ready to apply, jump into xerobeautifulbusinessfund.com to get your application in. Remember, applications close on 6 October!
For more information on how to apply and what to expect, check out our blog here.