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Top Tips for a Sustainable Business Model

Last editedDec 20212 min read

All business owners know that it’s important to turn a profit and focus on revenues, but that’s not the whole story. It has become increasingly important to consider the wider impact of your business, from ethics to thinking about how your activities affect the environment. With climate change a growing concern, everyone should learn how to be more sustainable in business.

Contrary to what many people believe, sustainability and profits can actually go hand in hand. When you have sustainable practices, it means that you are more efficient in product and waste less of your materials. By building a sustainable business model, you can in fact maximise your revenue. 

GoCardless is committed to science-backed sustainability targets, and as co-founders of the TechZero coalition, we’re putting climate action and the fight for net zero emissions right at the heart of our business agenda. Keep reading to find out our top 4 ways to create a sustainable business.

Consider how you travel to work

One of the biggest secondary sources of carbon emissions comes from the transport that you and your employees use in order to travel to work. It’s a great sustainable business idea to use alternative modes of transport. Try to leave the car at home and travel to work by foot, bicycle or perhaps using public transport options.

To encourage your employees to use more sustainable forms of transport, you can introduce schemes to subsidise public transport costs. Alternatively, you could support your employees if they want to buy a bike that they can use to travel to work. Finally, it’s a good idea to select an office location that is connected to good transport links. Through simple solutions like this, you can steadily create a more sustainable business.

Think about your supply chain

One of the most important steps to creating a sustainable business model is looking at your supply chain and where you source the materials necessary for your business. For example, if your business involves manufacturing a product, where do you get the raw materials that are used in production? Also, what kind of materials are you using?

If possible, try to source materials as locally as possible in order to cut down on the carbon emissions associated with transport and logistics. Materials should be non-toxic where possible, and it’s even better if they are made from recycled components or can be recycled themselves. Finally, try to use durable materials that can be repaired, rather than throwaway ones found in many single-use products.

Reduce the energy footprint of your building

Anyone wondering how to make a business more sustainable should take a look at the emissions involved in maintaining the building or premises of their business. One of the biggest contributors to a company’s carbon footprint is the heating and electricity used in the building, and so it’s a good sustainable business idea to think about how you can reduce these emissions.

For example, you can consider switching to a more sustainable energy provider that uses renewable energy sources. Alternatively, and if possible, you could install solar panels on the building to supplement your energy with a greener source. Another great idea is putting in better insulation so that you don’t have to use the heating so much. As well as being sustainable practices, these solutions will all save your business money!

Wondering how to calculate your business’s carbon footprint in the first place? Why not try the GoCardless greenhouse gas calculator? Built specifically for SMEs, it’s a super-effective way to measure the overall carbon impact of your business, and identify areas where greenhouse gases can be reduced. 

Try to create sustainable partnerships

Learning how to make a business more sustainable also involves the other businesses that you partner with. Rather than aiming for large corporations, you could partner with local groups who are working to create a more sustainable community. As an added bonus, this can help you to connect with more customers and understand your target market better.

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