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A Simple Sustainability Guide for Small Business Owners


Building sustainability into your business model is good for people, the planet, and your profits. It’s a win-win-win! As you prepare to launch your business, this is the best time to uncover sustainability opportunities and implement practices that reduce your environmental impact. Unlocking sustainability opportunities can help you tap into new markets, create stronger ties with customers, and save money on operating expenses, all of which are great for business. Here are some tips from the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce to help you identify opportunities to go green with your new business.


Business Startup Fundamentals


First, we need to tackle a few basic business startup steps that will make it easier to adopt eco-friendly practices. New entrepreneurs are often overwhelmed by the steps involved in launching a business. Jumping in and getting started is the best way to move past feelings of overwhelm and analysis paralysis.


For example, one of the first things you’ll need to do is form an LLC. Registering your business as an LLC will offer personal liability protection and allow you to access tax advantages that can mean big savings at tax time. Instead of paying a lawyer to help you form an LLC, take advantage of an affordable online formation service to start your LLC. Just be sure to review your state’s rules around forming an LLC before you tackle the process on your own.


The Basic Principles of Sustainable Business


Adopting a sustainable business model involves following a few basic principles. StartHead breaks down the five key elements that are necessary for corporate sustainability. First and foremost, your business should operate under a set of moral guidelines and values that support human rights and environmental protection. It’s also important that your business benefits society in some way, addressing social and environmental issues to help make this world a better place for everyone.


As you prepare to launch your business, look for opportunities to combat waste. For example, eliminating the use of paper documents is a great way to make your office more sustainable. Digitize your existing paper documents so you can keep everything organized digitally moving forward. You can do this with the help of a document scanning app and an online PDF merger. Merging separate documents into single PDF files with this tool makes for easier storage and retrieval, so don’t skip this step.


The Triple Bottom Line


Building a sustainable business means paying attention to your triple bottom line. The triple bottom line framework measures the success of a business based on profits, people, and the planet. This highlights the importance of prioritizing social and environmental issues in addition to earning profits. TechTarget explains that focusing on your triple bottom line can help you identify new ways to generate profit, reduce employee turnover, reduce energy consumption, improve your company reputation, enhance productivity, and attract new investors through increased corporate transparency.


Marketing Without Greenwashing


Greenwashing is always a risk when advertising the actions your business is taking to increase sustainability. Greenwashing is a deceptive form of marketing that involves making a business or product seem more eco-friendly than it really is. Consumers are quick to call our brands guilty of greenwashing, which can severely damage your reputation. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to avoid greenwashing in your marketing strategy:

  • Make sure your marketing team is clear on what promises they’re allowed to make.

  • Don’t exaggerate what your business does for the planet.

  • Listen to the expectations of your staff, customers, stakeholders, suppliers, and the greater community.

  • Bring all elements of your business in line with your green messaging.


If you’re getting ready to launch a new business, consider putting sustainability at the heart of your venture. Form an LLC, digitize your paper documents, create a sustainable business plan, and learn how to market your products without facing accusations of greenwashing. Building sustainability into your business model will help your business come out on top!