5 sustainability hacks that can save your business money

| June 3, 2019

Excuse the pun but global warming is an increasingly hot topic in today’s world. We’ve seen everything, from children going on strike from school to global investment firms changing the way they do business – not to mention the plethora of research showing a growing proportion of Australians are passionate about the issue.

In fact, our most recent survey here at Finder showed that 38%  of Australians think that a company’s social and environmental efforts are incredibly important when considering whether to purchase their product or service.

It’s becoming clear that SMEs can’t afford to be left behind on sustainability, but there’s a preconception that going green will come at a significant cost to your business. To try and bust this myth, this article looks at five things that your business can do today to embed sustainability into your company culture while also reducing costs:

Neutralise your energy bills

For all businesses, energy bills are an annoying expense. The good news is that you might be able to reduce your impact on the planet while also minimising your bills. There are lots of energy providers in Australia that offer carbon-neutral options that don’t cost the earth. If you haven’t switched your energy provider in a few years, it’s highly likely that there’s a carbon-neutral energy plan to suit your business that just might be cheaper than what you’re paying today. For companies based in Australia, Powershop and Energy Locals are both great places to start.

Invest in the power of the sun

Another option on the energy front is to stop buying it altogether. If you’ve got the space and some cash to spend, investing in solar panels could be a wise move for your business. According to research by the Australian Energy Council, some solar panel systems will take less than four years to pay for themselves and after that you may never have to pay an electricity bill again. Not only that but solar panels are a very visible sign to your customers and your staff that you take your environmental impact seriously.

Bin single-use plastics for good

Plastic is everywhere and, as a nation of beach lovers, this is a sustainability issue that really hits home with Australians. Chances are your business relies on single-use plastic in some way and by reducing this reliance you are not only minimising your impact on the environment but you might well cut costs along the way. Perhaps you can give your staff reusable water bottles rather than repeatedly stocking up on plastic cups by the water cooler? Could you switch to plastic containers to store food in your kitchens rather than using cling wrap? These moves might incur an up-front cost but they will save you money in the long run while also showing your staff that you care about the planet.

Give your waste away

As the old saying goes, one man’s waste is another man’s treasure. This is definitely true when it comes to the “waste” that your company is creating. For example, here at Finder we go through a lot of coffee but because we buy our beans through a charity called Kua, nothing goes to waste. Not only do they deliver fresh single-origin beans on a weekly basis, but they also collect our used coffee grounds and convert them into valuable products like soap. Taking measures like these can reduce your waste bill, and you might even be able to sell on some of the waste that your company doesn’t need. This is definitely the case with old computers and mobile phones so think about the waste you create and keep an eye out for organisations that might want to give it a new home.

Get help from the (free) experts

You’re not alone on this sustainability mission. There are a lot of organisations out there that want to help you along the way. A good place to start is your state government and local council – they might have a program in place. Here at our Finder HQ in Sydney, we’ve benefited hugely from the City of Sydney CitySwitch program and it hasn’t cost us a dollar. There is also heaps of free content on the Internet for you to learn more. This Auspost guide is a comprehensive report on small business sustainability while our very own Finder Green page is loaded with free tips on how to find sustainable products.