Could you use some help in implementing sustainable business practices for your company?
If you’re like most busy professionals, the answer is yes!
Sustainability is a vast – and rapidly evolving – field. Fortunately, there are best practices that have emerged that can help you so that you don’t have to reinvent the proverbial wheel.
In this Small Business Guide to Sustainable Business Practices, I’ve pulled together resources to help you get the practical guidance that you need.
Each chapter contains links to blog posts that will help you to learn about sustainability and the triple bottom line, engage employees, conserve resources, and more.
Here’s how to use this guide: When you click on one of the chapter links below, you’ll go directly to your desired chapter (without refreshing the page). The chapters are organized sequentially so that one builds on the other, but you can of course dive right in to the topic that is of most interest to you.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Understanding Sustainability and the Triple Bottom Line
Sustainability has burst onto the business scene in recent years, but for many people it remains an unfamiliar term. These posts will cover the concepts of sustainability and the triple bottom line to provide you with a solid understanding of both so that you can then implement appropriate practices for your business.
What is Sustainability in Business?: Learn about what sustainability is, the key drivers for sustainability, and the business case for sustainability
The Breakthrough Thinking of the Triple Bottom Line: Learn about one of the most important principles of business sustainability and why it’s something that every business should be paying attention to.
Human Capital: The People Part of the Triple Bottom Line: Take a closer look at the human side of the triple bottom line.
How Conserving Natural Capital Can Help Your Business: Understand what natural capital and how conserving it can benefit your business.
Chapter 2: How to Get Started with Sustainability
Now that you know about sustainability and the triple bottom line, it’s time to think about how they apply to your business. These articles will provide you with a starting point so that you can use a framework to avoid ad hoc efforts, follow three proven steps for sustainability, and overcome common challenges.
How To Conduct a Simple (yet Comprehensive) Sustainability Audit: Quickly compare your company’s practices with recognized best practices in the field using this free sustainability audit checklist.
How a Sustainability Framework Can Greatly Help Your Business: A sustainability framework can ensure that you take a comprehensive approach to business sustainability.
3 Steps to Establishing and Maintaining a Business Sustainability Program: Whether you are just getting started with creating or maintaining a business sustainability program, these three proven steps will help you to build a robust sustainability program.
How to Overcome the Top 10 Challenges to Small Business Sustainability: You’ll face many challenges when working on small business sustainability. This article outlines common challenges and how to overcome them.
35 Actionable Tips for Going Green in the Workplace: This list of tips will get you started with energy efficiency, waste reduction, and more.
Chapter 3: Engaging Employees in Sustainability
Many businesses run into challenges with engaging employees in their sustainability efforts, but there are proven strategies that you can use to get people involved.
How to Start a Green Team: A green team is an important way to engage employees in sustainability. Learn how to start a green team at your business and download a free worksheet to help you get started.
Experts Share Employee Engagement Strategies for Sustainability: Get advice from the experts about the best ways to get your employees engaged in sustainability.
8 Great Ways to Increase Employee Engagement in Sustainability: Learn about 8 great ways to increase employee engagement in sustainability from the CEO of one of the companies leading in sustainability.
9 Useful Sustainability Videos to Share with Your Team: Videos can be a good way to educate and engage your employees. This curated list covers topics including climate change, the business case for sustainability, and B Corps.
Chapter 4: Ways to Conserve Resources & Reduce Pollution
Conserving resources and reducing pollution are key to operating more sustainably and minimizing your environmental impact as a business. You’ll need to evaluate your operations across a range of areas, from energy efficiency to cleaning chemicals.
Energy Efficient Lighting: Learn how you can save energy and money by evaluating your options for energy efficient lighting at your business.
How to Reduce Waste at Your Business: Knowing how to reduce waste at your business is an important part of your sustainability efforts. Learn more about waste reduction and resources.
Recycled Paper: What You Need to Know to Make Good Purchasing Decisions: Make good paper purchasing decisions by understanding the difference between recycled paper and post-consumer waste and SFI and FSC certifications.
Water Conservation at Work: Low Flow Toilets: Toilets have a significant impact on your water usage at work. Learn about the need for water conservation and how to identify whether or not your toilet is low-flow.
What is Green Cleaning and Why Is It Important for Your Business?: Learn how to evaluate your cleaning products so that you can select the ones that are best for the health of your employees, visitors, and custodial staff.
Chapter 5: Doing Well by Doing Good
Reducing the negative environmental impacts of your business is just one part of sustainability. Social sustainability is equally important: what is your business doing to have a positive impact on the people that it touches?
Establishing a Community Service Policy For Your Business: Learn about the benefits of a community service policy for your business, how it can help you with B Corp certification, and download a free template.
Chapter 6: Trustworthy Green Business & Sustainability Certifications
Certifications can play an important role in your sustainability program, but you need to be careful to select the ones that are both reputable and trustworthy. Green Business Certification is a great option for businesses in California, while B Corp Certification is great for all businesses regardless of where they are.
Getting Started with Green Business Certification: Get answers to your questions about Green Business Certification in Alameda County: what it involves, how long it takes, and how to get started.
The Benefits of Green Business Certification: Learn about the benefits of Green Business Certification for your business.
B Corp Certification: What is it?: Learn more about B Corp Certification, an international designation for sustainable businesses.
What You Ought to Know About B Corporations: An in-depth look at B Corps, the difference between B Corps and Benefit Corporations, and how to meet the certification requirements.
How to Assess Your Business Sustainability – Quickly: Learn how to assess your business sustainability using a free, objective tool and to find out how you compare to others.
Completing the B Impact Assessment: Find out what is involved in completing the B Impact Assessment, the online questionnaire required for B Corp Certification.
Benefit Corporations: What You Need to Know: This post will explain everything you need to know about meeting the legal requirement for B Corp Certification if you incorporate your business as a Benefit Corporation.
The B Corp Handbook – A Review: A review of the “B Corp Handbook”, including why it’s worth reading, summary of the book, and takeaways.
Chapter 7: Examples of Sustainability
Sustainability can be an abstract concept until you look closely at what businesses are doing day in and day out to operate in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner. These profiles of real businesses will hopefully give you both ideas and inspiration as your embark upon your own sustainability journey.
How a Yoga Studio in Oakland Practices Environmental & Social Sustainability: Anasa Yoga features bamboo floors, low VOC paints, and LED lights while also supporting local vendors and contractors and making yoga accessible to all.
10 Years as a Green Business: One Business’s Story: I Song Orthodontics shares its story about how it has been a green business for 10 years and the environmental features included in its green building.
How SchoolFoodies Delivers Healthy School Lunches – Sustainably: SchoolFoodies, a Certified Green Business that offers healthy school lunches to schools, day cares, and summer camps, explains how they operate sustainably.
An Innovative Approach to the Effective Reuse of Electronic Waste: Learn about how Surplus Service has focused on reusing rather than recycling electronic waste, diverting materials and toxins from the landfill.
How Cardboard Hangers are Remaking an Industry: By tackling the waste of plastic and wire hangers ending up in the landfill, Ditto Hangers is showing that every industry needs to be reinvented with sustainability in mind.