Sustainability Planning Important to Your Small Business Growth

Sustainability planning might seem like a lot for a small business to take on; however, it is an important step in being competitive. Yes, it may mean devoting important resources – time, money, and labor – that you would rather spend somewhere else. But ultimately, as the larger players adopt green practices, smaller businesses will need to join the fray or fall behind.

Some of the figures we found suggest that small businesses can:

  • Save 20% on energy bills just by making changes, such as turning off lights in the evening and taking advantage of more natural sunlight (
  • Reduce energy costs up to 60% by replacing inefficient electrical equipment with high-tech electro-technologies (Energy Cost Savings Council)
  • Borrow millions to “build, buy, or retrofit” their facilities from the Small Business Administration (SBA)  with energy saving technology and reduce their energy use by 10% (Kiplinger)

According to a 2011 MIT study, “Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point,” two-thirds of participants indicated sustainability was a big part of being competitive. This number is up from 55% in the 2010 survey. Additionally, the 2010 article, “Sustainability Scores and Small Business,” suggests large organizations…

…are assessing and selecting their suppliers based on environmental benchmarks…Small businesses hoping to work with these large corporations should anticipate questions about their environmental practices when they pitch company representatives, and thus be prepared with answers. The more details and real numbers you can mention, the better.

So as a small business owner you may be wondering what you should do to get started on a sustainability plan for your company. The article, “Sustainability Planning for Business Owners,” suggests that once you’re ready to implement sustainability into your business, start with these five steps:

  • Review your current carbon footprint (this may require an audit by a consultant)
  • Determine where you can make changes
  • Identify steps you can take to make those changes
  • Establish deadlines for meeting each step
  • Revise your plan as necessary

Others, like the article, “The Key Elements to Prepare for a Sustainability Plan,” also suggest you make sure you have a clear understanding of key steps to take before beginning to plan.

The fact is that as more companies embrace a green way of doing business, it will become more important for your company to participate. So why not start now? Develop a sustainability plan to help your organization successfully trim costs and position it for future growth.

Engage a Green Team in Your Organization

In order for sustainability plan and initiatives to take hold, it is important to get staff within your organization to be engaged and involved. There is no better way then to form then green teams inside your organization. Green teams is a small group strategically chosen that can build momentum and excitement about sustainability and be crucial to the culture shift within an organization.

To learn more about forming  a green read my recent article in Colorado Biz magazine. Another good article about green team formation was written last year by called Corporate Green Teams.  The EPA also has a short guide on creating green teams.