by Yelena Serebryakova, Founder of Lena Wild
In this post, I am going to share with you my tips and ideas for a more sustainable and responsible way to run a business. I am very excited, as this topic is very close to my heart. As a business owner, I love engaging in conversations and learning about ways to incorporate this philosophy and approach to my business operations as well. You might not run a business yet or maybe are not even planning to. However, these questions can be asked to the companies you are buying from and to ourselves. We make choices as we buy goods every day and with our hard earned cash we decide which businesses to support. Do we invest in someone who’s only interested is profit or instead support a company that is trying its best to be thoughtful about use of the natural resources, communities and our planet? Informative choices are very empowering, not only for a consumer but for the environment too.
Yes, sometimes we think that we are too small and what can we change on our own? What impact our actions will have? I do it too, but then I remember this quote:
If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito – African Proverb
10 tips for ethical business and consumerism
- Choose organic, sustainable, fair trade and local suppliers where possible. Yes, it can be more expensive however if we buy less but use up things without wasting, it might not be as expensive? By buying organic you are choosing to support agriculture that chooses more natural ways to grow their produce. These producers use fewer pesticides, no artificial additives or preservatives. They care about animal welfare and you won’t find GMO in their produce.
- Ask your suppliers about their sources and for detailed product information. Don’t be afraid to ask to reduce plastic packaging and wraps for your orders and how to recycle it. Surely it can be really annoying for them but with time it might make them rethink their ways and to invest in eco-friendlier options. Maybe you will even open a new growth opportunity for them as they will also start to appeal to more responsible clients like you.
- What about your own packaging? Bottles, labels, sachets? Can they easily be recycled? Maybe you can go an extra mile and use post consumer recycled materials, compostable or biodegradable packaging? With our packaging and communication, we can further spread our message to our clients and inspire them to be more caring for the planet.
- How do you ship your customer orders? Yes, we need to ensure it reaches the client undamaged however are we guilty of over-packaging things? There are more sustainable options available, such as recycled paper over plastic, protective chips made from biodegradable and compostable sources. There are products that might come without the outer box, which is awesome, but in some cases these products need to be shipped to the retailers and consumers. How does it travel without getting smashed then?
- Maybe it is possible to go digital for your internal operations? Print less, reuse paper and use recycled where possible. Less waste, ensure things get recycled and disposed of properly.
- Energy efficiency – lighting, heating, air-conditioning. So many times we leave a light on and do not come back to the room for a while. Maybe it is worth installing sensor lights or economy light bulbs, for example?
- Eco friendly perks for your employees – coffee, filtered water, bicycle schemes? By having coffee and refreshment drinks available in your office, your staff will reduce takeaway cups and bottles which they grab on their way to work. Offering a bicycle scheme will not only keep them more active but will also reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. These perks will make them feel appreciated and it also does good for the planet.
- Are there sustainable banking options available in your area? Maybe, you should check. This is where you keep your money! How does your bank manage your money and what does it do with it? Did you know that there are banks that invest in green and renewable energy, and do good for the local communities?
- Supporting a charity that you believe in and promoting the message that resonates with you could be a very good option too. Being part of a good cause is by all means a beautiful thing. You will also spread the message to your customer and may even inspire them to contribute to it directly.
- Communication and education is the key! I think it is very important to share your values and beliefs with your clients. Share your knowledge, tips and all things you are passionate about. By doing this you will create a tribe and together we form a much stronger force.
By supporting businesses and suppliers that do things right, as a consumer you give them an opportunity to grow and soon big brands will feel the pressure to rethink and change their ways too. The consumer is stronger than the business, even if most of the time we might feel as tiny as a mosquito from the proverb I mentioned before!
About the author
Connect with Yelena: @wearewildbeauty (instagram)
Connect on Linkedin