Small businesses today often introduce sustainable practices in the workplace, at the point of manufacturing, or in other areas where energy and material goods are used to produce a product or service. Adopting a sustainable business model may also help attract customers who want eco-friendly or environmentally friendly packaging. Today's consumers are educated and environmentally-conscious, and the number of people seeking out businesses that operate with a sense of environmental responsibility is growing.
Consumers Seek Out Environmentally Conscious Businesses
An article published with Triple Pundit reveals how consumers may pay more or seek out companies with environmentally friendly business practices like eco-conscious packaging.
"Offering "green" products does attract customers. However, there are a number of other ways that companies can create strong bonds with customers based on commitments to a sustainable world. A newly released survey shows that many of us are willing to pay more for products and services provided by socially responsible companies. And we view environmental and employment practices as the key indicators of social responsibility. These practices include more than offering ‘green’ products."
It's not just the business practices associated with the product itself. It's also the other ways that a business uses the earth's resources with efforts in local purchasing, efficient distribution, and environmentally friendly packaging.
The Challenges of Adopting an Eco-Friendly Business Model
An interview conducted by the Yale School of Management shared one business owner's thoughts on the challenges of introducing environmentally responsible business practices into a business that wasn't immediately associated with organic practices:
"We have very environmentally aware customers, but I would guess that maybe 10% care that our cotton is grown organically in Turkey. Organic farming is growing around 30% a year, but that's mostly because you can taste the difference, and there’s an obvious health value. There's a selfish motive for eating organic foods. But when we're telling customers to care about how cotton is grown in Turkey, that's still a stretch for them."
Some businesses have a built-in audience for eco-conscious consumers, but other businesses may not possess buyers who automatically connect a particular product with a sustainable business model. For example, businesses that sell food may rely on the growing organic industry to lure eco-conscious customers. A clothing company might need to put a little extra work into marketing an eco-friendly persona.
Consider: Environmentally friendly packaging is an ideal option for companies who want to cultivate a reputation for eco-friendly business practices.
Businesses Can Lead the Way in Sustainability
There are many consumers who actively seek out eco-conscious businesses, but the reality is that many people aren't willing to give up things like gas guzzling SUVs, arctic-cold air conditioning, and plastic everything.
The Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center makes a bold statement about the need for businesses – and by extension, business owners – to make the switch to an environmentally conscious business model:
"It seems that we want sustainability to occur without making any change in our daily behaviors and actions. When was the last time you simply placed your trash in the correct (sorted) receptacle? Or turned off lights in an empty room you happened to walk by? If we do not begin to act on our own, how can we expect others to embrace a “sustainability culture” that we claim to desire?"
Utilizing green-friendly business practices, environmentally friendly packaging, and other sustainable measures is essential, but can the average business owner go even further into his or her own life to demonstrate a true commitment to a healthy, green future?
Intentions Versus Actions in Eco-Friendly Business Practices
A sustainable business model isn't without its conflicts, and the cost of implementing various eco-friendly measures is first on the minds of many business owners. However, there are other issues in play, too, regarding the ability of a business to increase customer levels based on environmentally responsible practices.
An academic piece from Cranfield University in the UK describes the issue:
"...given the seriousness of these concerns by scientists and the general public alike, why is there still such a large gap between good intentions and action on climate change... And why does this gap appear to be even larger in other parts of sustainability, such as redressing human rights abuses in the production of products like footwear and natural resource extraction? Why is it that we understand these problems exist, and yet do very little about them at work, in our homes, or in other areas of our lives?"
However, this gap between intentions and verifiable actions doesn't mean that sustainability is a concept that should be abandoned. An article from 816 New York, LLC. recently revealed the results of a survey entitled, "Rethinking Consumption: Consumers and the Future of Sustainability" and shared an interesting statistic about the survey participants:
"65% believe they have a responsibility to purchase products that are good for the environment and society."
An Example of Real World Efforts in Sustainability
Large corporations use a significant amount of the earth's resources to bring us our goods and services, and the sustainability efforts of multinational corporations can help small businesses decide where to put their resources for similar efforts.
Car maker Ford reveals:
"People are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of "going blue" as we are "going green," and becoming more aware of sustainability challenges related to water, one of our most precious and pressured resources... In 2012, Ford announced a comprehensive water strategy based on an analysis of risks and opportunities throughout our value chain from environmental and social perspectives. As part of this strategy, we will reduce water-use-per-vehicle by 30 percent from 2009 to 2015."
When you think about a car company, the first thing to come to mind probably isn't "water," but Ford's strategy – and the strategies of other large, multinational corporations – has been to investigate options for sustainable measures in a variety of areas. This is an important concept because it shows us that eco-friendly operations come from many different angles and go well beyond the idea of putting a recycling bin in the employee break room.
Your First Steps Toward Sustainability
Each business must start somewhere in the transformation to a sustainable business model, and environmentally friendly packaging is an ideal place to start because it can be accomplished by partnering with another business.
If your business purchases standard plastic bags for customers, switching to a supplier of environmentally friendly packaging is literally as easy as making a phone call or setting up a new arrangement with an eco-friendly packaging company.
Creating locally sourced products and services and using sustainable methods to create your business's products can take time and money that is in short supply for the average small business. Many practices require a long-term plan for implementation.
Environmentally friendly packaging, on the other hand, is an ideal way to introduce sustainable measures at virtually any size business.
Environmentally Friendly Packaging Solutions from Howard Packaging
Are you looking for ways to introduce sustainability to your business? Are you interested in methods that are easy to adopt and offer additional benefits for branding and marketing? Find out what Howard Packaging can do for your business. Request a Free Catalog and Sample Kit Today!