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30 Steps to Another Way Business: Products & Services

Step 19: Materials or intrinsically sustainable

Step 19 is all about ensuring the products or service you as a business are providing are sustainable, long-lasting and will not impact the environment negatively both now and in the future. This step will vary depending on what specifically your business does, so tailoring the advice here to your business is important in ensuring it has the biggest impact.

If your business is selling a product(s) here are some things to think about:

  • What materials are being used to make your product? Could you switch to reusable / sustainable materials?
  • How are your products packaged? A lot of products are often packaged in plastic, so if your business is doing this it is really important to find an alternative solution. 12 million tonnes of plastic make their way into the ocean every year, and this number is only increasing. It is so important for businesses to find alternative methods of packaging. Lush is a great example of a business that has found alternatives to plastic packaging by offering reusable pots, recyclable paper and Eco Pops which safely store products whilst being transported to customers and can easily be washed away in the sink.
  • Polystyrene is another common packaging type for products, especially in the takeaway industry. Polystyrene can have major effects on the environment, including taking many years to decompose due to it being non-biodegradable, polluting water bodies, forming litter on the streets and being ingested by animals on land and in the oceans. Think about switching to compostable or reusable packaging as a more sustainable alternative.
  • Corporate gifts, gimmicks and freebies are often used by businesses, however, these generate a huge amount of waste, often use plastic products and packaging, and are unsustainable. If your business is currently sending out these products, ask yourself if it is really necessary; the chances are the answer is no. They may be fun, but they are ultimately increasing your business’ carbon footprint, and are also costly. Cutting out these products will not only reduce unnecessary waste but also save you money. If you still wish to send out these products, switch to using sustainable companies with eco-friendly products.
  • You should take a look at becoming a Green Seal Certified business once you have taken the steps to ensure your products are environmentally sustainable. Green Seal are a global organisation that provide businesses with valuable recognition and accreditation for their efforts in making their products sustainable. There are many different standards to choose from when becoming a Green Seal Certified business which is perfect when tailoring it to your specific business. To find out more about Green Seal please click here.

If your business is not selling products, make sure your service and you as a business are intrinsically environmentally sustainable. Take the time from this step to really focus on the other steps, such as Step 9 in being paperless, especially with customers/clients, reducing waste, installing renewable energy sources, making the workplace as environmentally friendly as possible and spreading this message alongside the service your business is providing.

This step may seem daunting, and your business may need to make quite a few changes, but do not get disheartened by this. Making change takes time, so do what you can where you can, and step-by-step you will get there. If you always keep your environmental message at the forefront of your work, then making these changes will be a natural step forward for your business.