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What is sustainable business

What is sustainable business

Sustainable business means doing things thoughtfully by thinking ahead and looking at how your actions impact the environment and surroundings. There are simple changes all businesses can make and new ideas are cropping up all the time.

Sustainable business is about looking at the products and services used in your business and thinking about their impact on the environment. Many sustainable practices aren’t too different to standard practices, and small changes can make a big difference.

Making your business more sustainable is about looking at what you do, what you buy, and how you use and dispose of things. It’s also about moving to eco-friendly, local, organic or low-emissions alternatives.

How to be environmentally sustainable

Climate Action Tool Box(external link)

Benefits for your business

There are many advantages of being an eco-friendly business. Some of these include:

  • Attracting more customers – studies show a number of people prefer to deal with businesses that are socially and environmentally responsible.
  • Reducing costs – an energy efficient office spends about 20% less on their energy bills.
  • Marketing advantages – environmentally sustainable practices, products and services are often a unique selling point.
  • Avoiding risks – practices that aren’t environmentally friendly can damage your reputation and create distrust among your customers, investors and the larger public.

Developing your unique selling point

Production and supply chains

If you’re starting your sustainability journey, there are some key concepts you might want to know.

Circular economy

Circular economy relates to a product’s life cycle. Instead of a product being made, used and disposed of once, the product is used for as long as possible. Once it can no longer be used, the product is recycled and reused. Reducing waste in your supply chains may lead to cost savings.

An example of this is the ban on single-use plastic bags in New Zealand. Businesses now offer environmentally-friendly alternatives and customers are now encouraged to bring their own reusable bags.

Plastic bag ban(external link) — Ministry for the Environment

Triple bottom line

This is a way of looking at a business’s bottom line in three ways: financial, social and environmental. Having three ways of valuing a business gives your staff, customers and potential investors a more holistic view of how your business is performing.

Your business and the triple bottom line [PDF, 320KB](external link) — Ministry for the Environment

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