Starting a new eco-friendly business? Exciting times! It’s good you’ve landed on our platform, because as a new (or even existing) business it’s important to be eco-friendly, plus, you might be able to secure sustainable funding to help develop a new environmentally friendly economy.
Businesses big and small are focusing on how to be sustainable as a brand. Are you feeling like you’re missing out a bit? Fair enough. A lot of business owners feel like that. This guide is here to help you ensure that your business is doing its bit for the environment!
5 Steps To Become an Eco-Friendly Business
So, where do you start?
- Identify sustainability problems in your existing business; or, if starting a new business, identify these problems in your potential competitors.
To boost your chances of standing out from the crowd, a good idea would be to investigate eco-friendly practices that your competitors are missing out on. This provides a clear purpose for your business.
- Establish a solid brand that focuses on your sustainability.
Probably a bit of an obvious point, as that’s really just the basics of any business, but you can’t underestimate how important it is to be able to communicate to potential customers what your values are when it comes to sustainability – especially when so many consumers these days are increasingly eco-conscious.
- Hire employees who share your values.
Employees who share your eco-conscious values are very important – they are far more likely to enforce and maintain sustainability in the general running of your business than those who aren’t.
- Ensure the general running of your business is as sustainable as it can be.
Don’t leave any stone unturned; whether it’s your supply chain, the source of your electricity, your machinery, your packaging, company vehicles, paper in the office, whatever else, it can likely be improved to become greener.
If you are making claims about being green and not actually being so (whether you mean to or not) that is greenwashing, a very large problem unfortunately still currently faced.
- Don’t lose sight of profitability as one of your main goals (just be responsible about it).
It’s the sign of any healthy business, right? Profitability is also key to securing green funding, which helps massively to aid businesses fund green initiatives and become fully sustainable (more on that below). It requires a balance. Don’t charge too little or you can’t invest in green initiatives either directly, or indirectly through green funding. Charge too much and you will price out a large proportion of consumers – and if few people can make use of a sustainable product, there is actually very little benefit to the environment. It’s all about finding the right balance, and we’re pretty sure you will figure that out!
How to secure green / sustainable funding
Green / sustainable funding is highly competitive but if you are able to secure it when starting an eco-friendly business, it can go a long way to helping you achieve sustainability. Here is some key information on the topic:
- Where is sustainable funding available?
Green funding is most often secured from your local council. If your business is in their catchment area, so it’s best to check their website to learn more. The UK has pledged to become net zero by 2050. Part of this has been nearly £5 billion in funds being available to businesses investing in green technologies.
- How do you know if you can apply for sustainable funding?
Under each green funding initiative, you will likely see a list of eligibility criteria which your business must meet to be considered for funding. If you do not meet this criteria, you may be able to adapt to fit them; if not, look for another funding source. Eligibility criteria may require specifics about your business, such as the type of sustainable initiative you wish to fund, or the size of your business.
- What types of sustainable funding are available?
There are many types of funding available, but some common ones are grants (which you don’t have to repay) and loans (which you do). Grants are usually more restrictive than loans in terms of the eligibility criteria, and how you can spend the money.
- How do you create a proposal?
We can’t help with a marriage proposal (lol), but for a funding proposal, we can tell you a few things you should look to include.
Be clear about what you plan to spend on with the funding as well as the benefits it will give, with evidence.
Include a plan of total costs, and, as mentioned earlier, demonstrate that it will be profitable (nobody wants to invest in a business which may go down).
Also include a timeline, project overview and your past experience in the sector, if relevant.
Including an ESG score also helps tremendously, and if it isn’t something you have, it’s worth having a look at.
And remember – be transparent!
UK’s Single-Use Plastic Ban to grow Eco-Friendly Businesses
The UK government’s decision to implement a ban on a wider range of single-use plastic items represents a vital milestone in the nation’s commitment to sustainability. The ban is on various single-use plastic items, targeting a range of products commonly found in our daily lives. It encompasses items like plastic plates, trays & cutlery and aims to curb the environmental impact caused by these disposable plastics.
Key Components of the Single-Use Plastic Ban in the UK:
Plastic Straws: One of the primary targets of this ban. Plastic straws are sadly still commonly used and are affecting marine life and ecosystems. As of the ban’s implementation, plastic straws are no longer available at bars, restaurants and other establishments. There are a wide range of reusable sustainable alternatives catering for a wide variety of needs.
Cotton Buds: Often disposed of irresponsibly, plastic-stemmed cotton buds pose a significant threat to our oceans. The ban ensures that only paper-stemmed cotton buds are available to consumers. Try these bamboo cotton buds instead, from Auklett.
Stirrers: Plastic stirrers, commonly used in beverages, have been banned to reduce unnecessary plastic waste. Choose for Eco-friendly alternatives like wooden or metal stirrers instead.
Single-Use Plastic Plates and Cutlery: The ban extends to single-use plastic plates, cutlery and also some polystyrene food containers. Consumers are encouraged to opt for reusable as well as biodegradable alternatives, such as these bamboo plates and cutlery. They are both natural, plastic free and reusable.
Reduced Packaging: The government also aims to tackle excessive packaging by requiring businesses to adhere to new regulations promoting recyclable or reusable packaging.
Importance of Eco-Friendly Businesses
The ban on single-use plastics is a significant stride towards reducing plastic pollution in the UK. These plastics often end up in our oceans, harming marine life and also polluting our natural habitats.
It starts with taking steps and seeing what you can do to become an Eco Friendly business. The next step is to see if you can secure sustainable / green funding.
Believe us, it’s not as hard as you think it is. Together, we can make a significant difference in preserving our planet for future generations.
Are you looking for sustainable items? Have a look at our platform here. This platform is also home to wonderful sustainable small businesses that promote and sell their products with us – want to find out more about that? Get in touch with us here.