If you’ve been running an eco-friendly business for any length of time, you know every decision matters. Each step you take toward preserving the environment benefits your customer relationships and public image. For example, implementing eco-friendly policies and using sustainably-sourced supplies will develop deep trust with your customers and the public. Eventually, you might even run your business from a LEED-certified building.
While it’s crucial to continue moving your business toward higher levels of sustainability, it’s equally important to adopt sustainable practices in your personal life. By extending your commitment to sustainability to your personal life, you’ll build a stronger business reputation.
How sustainable are your favorite brands? Dig deep to find out
Make a list of the brands you use most often and start digging to find out how sustainable they are. Start by checking Rank-a-Brand’s directory. If any of your brands are in the directory you’ll get plenty of information with properly cited sources. For instance, Apple’s sustainability report breaks down data extracted from Apple’s 2016 Environmental Responsibility Report.
After checking the directory, do some independent research online and find out what your favorite brands have been doing to manage their carbon footprint, reduce waste, and recycle their used products. If any brands don’t fit the standards you’d require in your business, start looking for alternatives.
Don’t write off brands too quickly
Don’t automatically write off a brand that seems wasteful. For instance, on the surface it makes perfect sense to stop buying disposable plastic razors. Local recycling plants can’t recycle used razors, which means they end up in landfills. However, when you dig a little deeper you’ll learn that Gillette recently launched a national razor recycling program that recycles disposable razors, cartridge razors, and razor blades from safety razors.
While safety razors are environmentally-friendly (and cheaper), it’s no longer terrible to use disposable razors. Disposable razors probably shouldn’t be your first choice, but if you’re not ready to change you don’t have to. Just make sure you follow through with finding a drop off point to recycle your old razors.
Reduce consumption all around
While there are many items you can find eco-friendly alternatives for, the best way to be eco-friendly is to reduce consumption period. Just like you’d spend time reducing the amount of packaging used to ship your products, assess the items you’re buying from the store to see where you can reduce the amount of waste you’re producing.
If you buy eggs, buy them in cardboard cartons that can be recycled or burned in a wood stove. Sometimes local chicken farmers will buy your used egg cartons to repurpose for giving eggs to friends and family.
Stick to your brand commitments
Once you determine the brands you’re giving up, don’t make exceptions. Get used to the idea of having to sacrifice convenience and comfort to stick to your principles. Your customers would expect you to stick to your commitments as a company, so it only makes sense to do the same in your personal life.
Create a personal vetting system
You can’t find sustainable brands without a vetting system. You’ve probably got a vetting system in place for your business. It’s time to create one in your personal life. If you don’t know how to create a vetting system, look through B Lab’s reports to get an idea of how it’s done.
B Lab – one of the world’s top eco-friendly businesses – uses a 200-point system to measure company performance. B Lab ranks companies according to accountability, employee impact, and whether the products promote public benefit or are targeted at underserved populations. Two household brands that score highest are Method and Seventh Generation.
Consistency in your personal life will benefit your business
Match your personal sustainability efforts with the effort you put into your business. It would be hypocritical to run an eco-friendly business while you consume products packed with styrofoam and plastic. If a product in your personal life doesn’t meet your standards in business, you should probably find an alternative.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to maintaining a sustainable personal life is being able to tell your customers you practice what you preach. Leading a sustainable life is not only good for the environment, but it’s a great selling point to get people on board with supporting your company.
Environmentally-minded consumers always want to know who they’re supporting beyond the business. You’ll generate respect and trust when your personal and business efforts align.