Make Your Business More Sustainable


Sustainable development means being able to continue indefinitely by minimising environmental and social impacts and ensuring financial stability.

Developing your business more sustainably can help you reduce costs, control risk, improve your reputation and create new business opportunities. For example, you might reduce your use of energy or raw materials, use renewable alternatives and make the best of new markets for innovative or better performing products. As well as helping the environment and society, becoming more sustainable directly benefits the financial performance of your business.

While one-off improvements are worthwhile, you should use a strategic approach to make the most of your opportunities. For example, you might drive long-term change in your business by establishing key objectives and implementing a management system to help you achieve them.

This guide outlines how to make your business more sustainable by using a strategic approach.

Benefits of a sustainable business

Taking a sustainable approach to business means that your business has no negative impact on the environment or society, while remaining financially sound. It encourages you to focus on long-term goals and strategy, and offers a wide range of benefits.

A sustainable approach will help your business comply with regulations and avoid any non-compliance costs. It can also help you qualify for reductions in environmental taxes such as the climate change levy.

There are significant savings to be made by using resources such as raw materials, energy and water more efficiently.

You should aim to take responsibility for your business as a whole, not just what happens under your roof. This means looking at the behaviour of your suppliers and your customers. Your supply chain could be a source of major inefficiencies, especially if you source materials from overseas. Do you know how your supplies reached you and how they were manufactured? Equally, are your products simple to recycle? See our guide on how to reduce the environmental impact of your supply chain.

Improved reputation

A sustainable approach can improve the reputation of your business and the products and services you offer. Many individual consumers prefer to buy from responsible businesses, while business customers may choose sustainable suppliers as part of their own commitment to sustainable development.

A good reputation can help you attract and retain employees, and improves your standing with the local community. By reducing the risks in your business and showing that it is well managed, a sustainable approach can also make it easier to attract investors and to work with regulators.

Managing environmental impacts

You could consider using an environmental management system to help you manage, measure, monitor and report on your sustainability performance and to gain from the benefits. See nibusinessinfo’s guide on environmental management systems (EMS) – the basics.

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