Regardless of the specific types of products your business offers, striving to boost sustainability in manufacturing, product distribution, and product packaging is essential.
To some degree, this is simply a matter of ethics. You have a responsibility as a business owner to minimize your business’s negative impact on the environment and usage of resources.
However, it’s also worth noting that embracing sustainability can actually improve your brand’s image. Surveys show that consumers are increasingly interested in supporting businesses that operate sustainably.
The specific ways you can practice greater sustainability will depend somewhat on the nature of your business and products. In general, though, the following tips will help you get started:
Research Packaging Options
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’ve been focused on running your business the past few years, you may be unaware of new forms of product packaging that are more sustainable than what you’re currently using.
Research your options to determine if this is the case. When choosing a supplier, don’t merely trust their claims when they promise their packaging is genuinely sustainable. Choose a supplier with sustainability certifications proving their claims. If they can also customize their manufacturing services to your specific products and needs, even better.
True, packaging isn’t the only material to consider when shifting towards greater sustainability. The materials in your products also matter.
That said, your ability to create your actual products with new materials may be limited. Packaging, however, is likely something you can adjust without sacrificing your products’ quality.
Use AI for Logistics
Manufacturing your products is just one process that involves the usage of resources. Shipping them uses resources as well.
You need to choose the most eco-friendly and efficient shipping methods and routes. That can, of course, seem challenging. You would need to analyze large amounts of data very carefully to determine if you can ship your products more sustainably.
Luckily, you no longer need to actually analyze said data yourself, nor do you necessarily need to employ an entire team of experts to do so.
Sophisticated artificial intelligence systems can now analyze your data virtually 24/7 to help you choose shipping routes and methods. Look into your options to determine if implementing this type of system is right for your business. Remember, the most eco-friendly shipping route is often the most efficient overall, helping your business save both time and money (while also helping the environment).
Train and Engage Your Employees
Some types of employee training programs can also help your business practice sustainability. For example, depending on the nature of their work, your employees may dispose of materials by recycling them when they’re not in fact recyclable. Their intentions may be good, but often, “recycling contamination” (which involves non-recyclable materials being found in loads from recycling bins) causes entire loads to be disposed of in landfills. This defeats the purpose of recycling.
Train your employees to properly identify recyclable materials. You might also want to get employees involved in developing sustainability initiatives at your business. The end goal may be to make a focus on sustainability a key element of your company culture.
Remember, practicing greater sustainability is good for the environment, good for your business’s financial health, and good for your brand. These tips will help you make the necessary changes.