Sustainability Programs for Small Business
Sustainability programs are common for large, publicly traded corporations. But do they matter for small- and medium-sized businesses?
Recently, there has been increasing pressure from clients and customers for small businesses to demonstrate sustainable practices. In fact, almost 70% of consumers expect businesses, large and small, to solve sustainability problems (Elshurafa, 2021).
But how can small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) get a sustainability program? Like safety programs, they can’t be purchased off the shelf and often expertise to develop a program isn’t available in-house. With limited budgets, how can SMEs participate in the Green Economy and meet the demands of their clients?
The good news is that most successful businesses are already undertaking sustainable activities, like listening to their clients, taking care of their employees, and reducing the amount of stuff that they buy.
What’s lacking is a way to gather the good news about their business, understand gaps in their program, develop a plan to address the gaps, and then share their success story.
To make all of this happen on a shoe-string budget requires some creative work. One option is to develop the skills in-house by completing sustainability training. Courses that meet the requirements of the Canada-Alberta Job Grant (or similar programs in other provinces) can cut the cost by more than 60%. Whatever you choose, be sure to understand both the time commitment and the cost before diving in.
Don’t be afraid to develop a scaled sustainability program for your business. You don’t need to meet all the requirements of international reporting agencies to get started. What’s important is buy-in from your leadership and employees, a willingness to learn and adapt, and an interest in doing what matters for your business.
Want to learn more about sustainability for small businesses? Let’s chat.
We’ve got a sustainability workshop program we believe will meet your small business needs.
JACQUELINE GORMAN, M.Sc., P.Geo. (She/Her)
Elshurafa, D. (2021, August 5). 69% of Canadian consumers expect companies to solve sustainability issues. 69% of Canadian Consumers expect companies to solve sustainability issues | EY Canada. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.ey.com/en_ca/news/2021/08/sixty-nine-percent-of-canadian-consumers-expect-companies-to-solve-sustainability-issues