Why should my business be sustainable? The value of business sustainability
Why should your business be sustainable? Here are 5 important ways to make your business more environmentally friendly.
We all know the importance of looking after our planet. We're aware of its fragility and doing everything we can to keep it green for future generations. As a company owner, you need to ask yourself: 'why doess my business need to be sustainable?' You need to think about a strategy to implement sustainability practices in every aspect of your company’s culture.
It's a fact – the more your establishment can reduce carbon emissions and waste, the more sustainable it will be in the future.
Think about your company's competitive advantage
This is why many people draw a comparison between committing to sustainability and investing in your business’ competitive advantage. This does not only mean being sustainable by reducing plastic and recycling waste in the workplace.
You also need to take your employees into account. It's important that you make your employees' working conditions better and safer, and care more about their welfare. An added plus of doing this is employee retention.
What is sustainability? Now, this includes the products and services you offer. You must make sure that these are all sustainable, too.
We call this the triple bottom line. That's business jargon describing how a company cares about the environment and the welfare of their employees. You see, it's not just about the company’s financial ‘bottom line’ (how much profit you are making). It’s also about your sustainability strategy. This can help companies save money in several ways, too.
As designers, it’s important to be aware of the importance of sustainability in business, especially in the fashion industry. We have put together an invaluable guide on fashion sustainability for you, so make sure to check it out!
Why use more sustainable business practices?
The fashion/textiles industry is the second most polluting industry in the world.
Yet we have the power to change this and create more sustainability through positive action and attitude. This is why it’s important to use more sustainable manufacturing methods in our companies. We need to take energy conservation seriously, and cut down on pollution.
Now is the time to consent to making your business’s strategy and all your business practices more sustainable overall. We all have to consider the future of our planet. You’ll also find that being sustainable will reduce your costs and increase profits.
And if you are doing this, it's time to discuss how you can focus on manufacturing long-lasting, eco-friendly products and have a happy workforce. Say no to fast fashion.
Read more about sustainable innovation and the way forward in sustainable business practices in our informative 2023 guide on the subject.
What is a sustainable business?
All sustainable companies should embrace this one key focus: 'Repair and protect our planet'.
This involves considering every action your establishment undertakes and its consequential impact. Importantly, this sustainability strategy includes manufacturing, HR, shipping, product development etc.
Every establishment can improve its sustainability in some facet. Let's begin with sustainability.
How to improve business sustainability
It's a matter of fact: a company involved in manufacturing needs to focus on reducing its environmental impact in several ways. These include waste minimisation policies, reducing carbon emissions and continuous improvement systems. These are all examples of how to improve business sustainability.
A company involved in services focuses mainly on its use of resources to provide its services to customers. One way to achieve that strategy, is by holding virtual meetings instead of travelling. And utilise local suppliers, too. Another way is to collaborate with companies with a similar mindset about sustainability.
There are plenty of ways you can make your establishment more sustainable for the future. Let’s take a look at how humans are harming our planet. And let's think about how we can make our companies more sustainable to alleviate this.
Companies consider these important sustainable practices:
Make sure to take all of these sustainability points into consideration:
Climate change and pollution
The main cause of climate change and pollution is fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil).
We use these resources to create energy to manufacture goods. This has created a shift in weather patterns. For this reason, many companies use renewable resources (wind and solar panels) instead of electricity to reduce these emissions.
To increase your sustainability impact, you can find an energy supplier that utilises only renewable energy. The more companies and individuals that demand this, the more the energy companies will change their business model and investment.
maake uses only 100% renewable energy in our factory and data centres that host our web services.
We do this because of the importance of manufacturing items sustainably. Pollution can result from every aspect of your company, directly and indirectly. It’s a perennial issue that we all need to tackle.
Sustainability examples include air pollution from your courier’s van or plane and burning oils and natural gases to heat buildings. Let's not forget about water pollution. This is a by-product of your factory and production waste going to landfill.
Conserving natural resources
A sustainable global business uses every strategy possible to reduce waste and to minimise the use of unsustainable materials. If we follow this example, we're well on the way to being green ourselves. We’re guaranteeing a better future.
Natural resources don’t just include the raw materials used in our products and packaging. They include other business processes, too. We're talking about computers, office supplies and shop fittings. Similarly, companies can use natural light instead of electricity to save natural resources.
Cut down on office printing, too, by not printing out emails and other items. There are many ways your company can embrace sustainability and become more energy-efficient. For instance, why not choose more sustainable printing methods for fabric, like we do at maake.
Being socially responsible
Social responsibility involves the people you work with, those who work for you and your suppliers. Remember: your staff is a very important resource. Do your utmost to create a fair, safe workplace that promotes equality and wellbeing for all. And make sure to foster an environment that embraces your mission.
maake focuses on building a diverse, inclusive team and culture, one in which all voices are welcomed and heard. This culture of belonging reflects the diversity of the creatives we work with, the people who print our products, and the companies we serve.
We are proud to be London Living Wage and we are committed to paying for staff and being a fair, open, and responsible employer. Our founders believe strongly in equal pay and opportunity between gender, race, religion and otherwise.
maake knows about business sustainability
Our team are passionate about sustainability, and are constantly searching for ways to reduce our environmental impact. We make sure all our suppliers are REACH-accredited. They need to conform to our stringent social responsibility standards.
These include not using child labour in any part of the supply chain, applying fair wages and offering good working environments.
Use only socially responsible suppliers. This way, you can change whole communities for the better.
Simple regulations to follow
Follow these simple sustainability practices and regulations:
- Use materials and technology that are less harmful to the planet
- Use recycled or organic fabrics
- Print textiles digitally. Don't use traditional printing methods
- Insist on Oeke-tex approved inks
- Reduce the carbon footprint in the supply chain
- Buy local
- Now, if you can’t buy an item locally, get it from overseas. However, before you do this, think about its carbon footprint
Follow our lead and save energy and water
- Our textile printing machines use very little energy.
- Our textile printing processes use zero water. They don't create any dirty water effluent, which is a common pollutant in the textile industry.
- We have automatic off-switches to avoid using excess energy.
- Take your customers into account. Customers are becoming increasingly aware of being more sustainable. It's a fact: customers consider a number of points before they buy something these days.
- Educate your employees and the community about sustainability
- People need to be aware of the problems that the planet is facing. This way, they can help to make a positive long term impact.
Interested? Here's 5 ways to become more sustainable in business
Here’s some advice on how to improve your sustainability initiatives if you’re interested:
1. Use sustainable products
Granted, sustainability is an important consideration for companies that manufacture and package products.
There are constant new and innovative technological methods to help global consumers become more sustainable in their manufacturing process.
You need to consider the whole value chain of the products you use to make your products.
This includes raw materials, finishing items, packaging and marketing materials.
You can dream big and start small. Let's face it, any positive change towards sustainability is a step in the right direction.
This is why maake uses sustainable and eco-friendly printing methods to print on our fabrics.
Actually, we do much more to be sustainable.
Our mission is to reduce our impact on the environment and the world. You will see that many of the textiles in our wide selection of fabrics are sustainably manufactured.
Our development team is constantly looking for innovative new fabrics to add to our range or replace existing ones.
As a matter of fact, these fabrics include recycled polyester material made from recycled plastic bottles. maake also uses organic GOTS certified cotton fabrics produced at sustainable farms.
We will only source from REACH–accredited mills and Oeko-tex®–approved inks. And we are constantly trying to reduce the carbon footprint of our fabrics, by working with local mills to develop these fabrics.
Remember, you can use sustainability in every aspect of your business.
2. Collaborate with local and sustainable partners
maake is a UK-based company. We do everything in our power to ensure that our manufacturing process focuses on sustainability.
Take note: many of our base fabrics are woven, knitted or dyed in the UK. This provides you with a fully circular UK product. We collaborate with sustainable partners in every aspect of our business.
We also collaborate with other like-minded companies who believe in furthering education and social responsibility. With our on-demand services, you can order only what you need. That way we keep over-production, stock and wastage to practically zero.
Some of the ways you can work to find sustainable partners :
- Manufacturing: Visit the factory yourself and verify their credentials. Ask about their sustainability goals. And watch how they reduce waste and recycle.
- Packaging: Insist on local suppliers who use recycled materials and those who have sustainability practices in place.
- Shipping: Choose low-carbon couriers like Royal Mail. They have the lowest reported carbon footprint per parcel delivery in the UK.
3. Reduce, reuse, recycle – in that order
Cut out the amount of harmful chemicals and other materials used for manufacturing your products.
Try to reduce unsustainable products in the office. These include single-use, disposable cups, plastic crockery and cutlery. Use more sustainable glass or ceramic items.
Reuse items, don't discard them. Every action makes a difference. One example: use discarded cardboard boxes for storage. You are sure to find several delivered to your company.
Additionally, when you print, use both sides of the paper.
This involves placing used items in recycling bins. That way, they can be recycled by others. Bins exist for paper, plastic, batteries, cans, you name it.
Why not consider using recycled paper? It requires less carbon, energy and water to manufacture. Did you know that computers cause huge amounts of toxic waste?
This is why it's important to recycle them through the correct channels. Think about all of the materials you use and make sure that none of them could land up as waste.
maake offers an upcycling service for customers. This divert production waste from landfill.
You can now order FREE 1,2.5 and 1,5kg upcycling bags filled with assorted plain fabric offcuts.
These are available for collection or shipping.
P.S. Your fabric offcuts come with our maake certificate to show the world you are taking action! You can also join our maakelessfabricwaste charity and use your force for good on a bigger scale.
4. Let’s talk about renewable energy
Here are some top tips on how to control your bills and the amount of energy you use. You can earn more money and boost your bottom line by doing this.
Let's face it, it's important to know how much energy your company is using before you can start reducing energy. To help create sustainable practices in business, some UK energy suppliers provide customers with smart meters as support.
These help measure how much energy a company is using. This will help you work out how to reduce energy. Make sure you have an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). It lists exactly how much energy you are saving and gives support and ideas on how to improve on this.
We are all aware that electrical appliances consume the most amount of energy. These include computers and printers, factory equipment, lights and temperature heating/cooling machines.
Try to conserve energy on all these appliances. Perhaps put a timer on the cooling or heating systems. This is very important if your employees work from home. Or simply plan your production to reduce energy consumption.
Even small changes can help save energy, decrease finance problems and increase your sustainability, too. These include switching to timed light switches in your toilet and/or using LED bulbs.
A few more ideas:
If you're interested, read on:
So, we know that laptops are more energy-efficient than desktop computers. Make sure to tell your employees to unplug their laptop after charging. This way you'll be more energy efficient.
maake’s uses using 100% renewable energy in our London mill. We make sure our textile printing is only powered by wind and waves.
Read more about the positive impacts that we make and our commitment to sustainable innovation and social responsibility here.
5. Measure your carbon footprint
The UK wants to reduce its carbon footprint to zero by 2050. Local companies are doing their utmost to be more sustainable. Perhaps the 2050 target is a possibility. Work out how you can help achieve this sustainability goal.
Use this calculator to measure your carbon footprint. Think about all the ways the company can reduce its carbon emissions. Aside from what you do in the office; there are many other ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
If your staff works from home, this saves on petrol for travel. Use renewable energy, buy local and, very importantly, become one of the world’s carbon-neutral companies.
Read how to do this below:
Make your sustainable company carbon-neutral
Did you know? There's one important way you can make a small business more sustainable. Yes, you need to make sure it produces less carbon dioxide than it uses.
And when this is the case, your business will be carbon neutral.
Here’s how to do this:
- Calculate your carbon footprint (view above).
- Do everything in your power to reduce your company's carbon footprint.
- Find out what you can do as an individual and as a company to reduce global carbon emissions.
- Get your business certification for being carbon neutral.
- Be vocal about your business model and its aim to reduce its carbon footprint.