How to become a sustainable start-up

If you’re planning to launch a start-up, one crucial thing you’ll want to consider is your budding company’s eco-credentials. As climate change and dwindling natural resources become a more urgent issue, businesses across the world have a shared responsibility to contribute towards green initiatives and make their daily operations more sustainable.

To help you start your business on the right track, BioPak, a company that specialises in sustainable packaging has shared four top sustainable business practices.

Why should I make my start-up sustainable?

As well as benefitting the planet, prioritising sustainability is a crucial part of practising corporate social responsibility (or CSR). Consumers increasingly expect companies to acknowledge this social responsibility, meaning that eco-friendly initiatives are both an ethical choice and a smart business decision.

Launch a tree-planting initiative

You might do this quarterly or annually when you assess your profit margins or offer to plant a tree for each purchase on your website. However, you approach it, this is a particularly effective way of demonstrating your new company’s morals and priorities to your future customers.

Become a profit-for-purpose company

One way you can make your business more sustainable from the outset is by pledging to donate a percentage of your profits to environmental charities. You may choose a charitable endeavour that’s closely connected to your own company: for example, if you have just launched a swimwear brand, you could donate to ocean clean-up programmes. Alternatively, you may choose to support larger, over-arching organisations like Greenpeace to fund their next conservation campaign.

Implement sustainable packaging

Even if e-commerce and delivery aren’t part of your business model, you can still find ways to make your everyday operations kinder to the planet. For example, when providing any food and drink for your staff in the office or at social events, make the switch from plastic food containers and cutlery to biodegradable alternatives. Just remember to look for industrially certified compostable disposables, those simply marketed as ‘biodegradable’ can make misleading claims about their materials and how easily they are disposed of.

Even things like setting up a simple recycling station in the break room and making sure that your office is signed up for the correct bin collection can make a huge difference in reducing and properly disposing of your waste. You could even contribute towards a circular economy (and cut costs as a budding start-up) by sourcing second-hand furniture and appliances for your workspace.

Create an annual sustainability report

Finally, if you’re putting in the work to launch a sustainable start-up, you may want to put out an annual sustainability report. It’s important to be open about your eco credentials so that you avoid any inadvertent instances of greenwashing and publishing a report on your website is a great way to share your progress with your customer base. Here you can discuss green initiatives that have been successful over the past year, as well as highlight issues you’re planning to resolve in the months and years ahead.

Leanne Osborne, Managing Director at BioPak UK said, “launching a start-up is a bold and time-consuming endeavour, and your priority may not be coming up with eco-friendly initiatives. However, as consumers and investors place more value than ever on sustainability, it’s wise to introduce these into your business plan as early as possible.

“Whether it’s investing in more sustainable packaging or partnering with tree-planting schemes, it’s becoming more common for companies to weave sustainable practices into their operations from the very beginning. Not only is this an environmentally conscious approach to business, but consumers are much more likely to trust and patronise brands that practice corporate social responsibility.”

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