Busting Sustainable Business Myths

Even though most small-to-medium business owners understand the value of sustainability, when it comes to putting their own green strategies into action, there’s usually something holding them back. Whether it’s perceived cost or feeling like you’re just too small to make a difference, taking those first steps to Net Zero can be overwhelming. To ease your mind (and hopefully spur you into action), here are five widespread sustainable business myths, debunked.

Myth 1: People don’t really care about business sustainability

The easiest myth to disprove is that making an effort to be more sustainable won’t make much difference. Businesses of all sizes are under increasing pressure from customers, employees, and stakeholders to be greener, and there’s plenty of evidence to prove it.

A recent survey by Hearts & Science found that just over half of consumers consider a brand’s eco-credentials when choosing products, and a fifth (have stopped buying from brands because of environmental impact. On top of that, 2 out of 3 job seekers say they are more willing to apply for and accept jobs from organisations they consider to be environmentally sustainable.

It can help your business expand your customer base, gain an edge over competitors, attract the best talent, and even grow revenues. And if you don’t, you could risk falling behind in the future.

Myth 2: Going green is too expensive

Many businesses worry about how much it will cost to adopt green initiatives. However, there are very affordable steps you can take to begin lowering your carbon footprint. Some could even save you money, such as turning off unused equipment and lights or monitoring energy consumption levels more effectively via a smart meter.

Of course, more extensive changes to your business’s operations will inevitably cost more, but the costs are often outweighed by the opportunities to earn and win new business.

Myth 3: Making claims about sustainability might mean we’ll be accused of greenwashing

Greenwashing is when a company pretends to be more environmentally responsible than it actually is by either making up claims or exaggerating the truth. This usually applies to companies which are having a devastating impact on the environment but marketing a single product or service as evidence they are sustainable.

While many companies are worried about potentially being accused of greenwashing if they talk about going green, as long as you take authentic steps to lower your carbon footprint, it isn’t an issue. Transparency, in particular, is vital. If you’re honest about the steps you’re taking and why, where your current shortcomings are, and how you are progressing, people will trust and value the efforts you are making.

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Myth 4: Sustainability and Net Zero are just for big companies

Many SMEs believe they are too small to make an impact, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if your business is just yourself, the impact you can have matters.

The UK’s 6m small businesses make up 99% of its total number of enterprises, employ 60% of the UK workforce, and generate £2.2tn of revenue to the economy. If every single one of them were to commit to lowering their footprint, it would have a huge positive impact on getting the entire nation to Net Zero. And the more that start today, the more significant that impact will be.

Myth 5: There is a lack of support for small businesses to start their journey to Net Zero

A BT and Small Business Britain survey found that despite 99% of small firms recognising the importance of sustainability, three-quarters (77%) don’t know how to measure their carbon emissions and need more support.

Feeling lost or not knowing what to do next is common for anyone looking to reduce their footprint. At Play it Green, we provide businesses with the support they need to do so in a way that works for them. This can include making a product, service, your workforce, or even your entire company Climate Positive.

All of our business members receive access to our Net Zero Framework designed to help you review, plan, and set actions across nine key programme areas. This includes Governance, Energy & Emissions, Food, Procurement, Transportation, Venue, Resource Use & Waste, Water, and Projects & Workforce.

They are also provided with their personalised online Forest Garden to track their impact and a whole host of marketing support to broadcast and make the most of their environmental efforts.

Regardless of your business’s industry or size, there’s definitely a way you can make an impact, and simply no reason not to.

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