Whichever way you look at it, sustainability makes sense. A recent study from HSBC found that 84% of companies are looking to make ethically or environmentally sustainable changes to improve their financial performance. While staff, customers and investors alike say they care about the societal impact of a business (according to the 2019 Edelman Global Brand Report).
All of which goes to prove that working to replace, protect or conserve natural resources isn’t just good for the planet; it’s good for your bottom line too.
The accounting team at BlueRock have always had big ambitions to drive meaningful change – for their people, their business and their community. Now, they’re looking beyond their borders to find ways to make a positive impact on the world around them.
Director Aaron March explains, “Sustainability means running your business in a way that leads to long-term positive outcomes for all stakeholders. It’s only natural that this includes the environment and our wider community too. That’s why when you lodge a tax return with us, we give back in a meaningful way – whether it’s funding a project that provides clean drinking water to families in Tanzania or providing students in Cambodia with basic education.“
In line with this month’s sustainability focused episode of Xero Now, we sat down with Aaron to discuss the little (and bigger) steps you can take to ensure your business does good.
1. Take stock of your surroundings and power up with quick wins
First things first, Aaron says, take a look around your working environment and consider the opportunities that are already there for the taking. “A quick change we made for the better was switching our energy supplier. Named Australia’s greenest power company, Powershop is 100% carbon neutral (plus, they actually turned out to be a cheaper option for us).”
2. Make your workspace recycling-ready and keep reusables at hand
Xero’s ‘How to make small business environmentally sustainable‘ guide provides plenty of tips for combating plastic pollution from the ground up, such as providing bins for returnable bottles, non-returnable bottles, aluminium cans, paper, and food scraps. The key to success here is ensuring you have clear signage for separate bins and making sure they’re easily accessible.
Aaron adds, “The smallest changes can make a huge difference, such as reducing disposable cups in the office (some businesses have even gone as far as banning them).” A handy tip is to keep environmentally friendly alternatives at the ready so there are always coffee cups and reusable shopping bags around.
3. Work to change the world for the better by undergoing B Corp certification
You might be wondering what this B Corporation thing is? Aaron explains, “In the same way I became a chartered accountant, the B Corp process is a certification. What it all comes down to is a plan to use business for good.”
Certified B Corps are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Even if your business isn’t quite ready to get started, there are countless tips, guides and case studies you can learn from.
“Trust me, it’s not as intimidating as it sounds,” Aaron says, “Becoming a B Corp felt like a natural progression for us at BlueRock. And while it might seem like a big step, chances are if you’re interested in running a sustainable business, then you’ll already be a long way down the path to meeting the certification requirements.”
And it’s not just for big businesses. Aaron assures, “In fact, the process can be faster for small businesses as they’re usually agile enough to make changes at speed.”
When it comes to making sure your business is doing better for the sake of the planet, it can all feel a little overwhelming. The solution is simply to start by doing what you can, and build up from there. Because no matter how small it may seem, every little step in the journey towards sustainability counts.
Tune in for August’s episode of Xero Now, where we’ll be talking all things sustainability and be sure to check out our How to make small business environmentally sustainable guide for hands-on tips on how you can make a difference.