Seeding a sustainable business and supporting charities – 1 Cornish business’s positive approach

Why Aim To Be a Sustainable Business And Create Positive Change In The World?

If you’re only in business to make money, you might, at some point, be able to get rich and buy all those things you think you want. Why would you want to give to charity or strive to become one of the truly ethical businesses out there when it will affect your bottom line? Well, there are plenty of reasons that it might be a good idea…

True Sustainability Means More Than Profit Motivation To Wake You Up Every Day

The only hitch is, one day, when the hustle and bustle of the grind calms down and you get a chance to reflect on what you’ve achieved with your time on the planet, you might wish you’d given a little more of your energy to helping protect the remaining beautiful places for yourself and everybody who is here sharing it with you. Any vast material wealth you’ve achieved might feel insignificant if you leave this world in a worse state than when you arrived here.

Creating a sustainable business and using it as a vehicle for good is a superb way of marrying the reason you wake up and engage with work every day with a grander vision, one which can serve everybody rather than just your business or you.

Are There Many Eco-friendly, Ethical and Green Businesses Out There?

There are many ways that a sustainable business model can be manifested. There are some wonderful businesses giving us examples of sustainability, already out there creating positive change through the services and products they’re involved with. On a national level there are both big and small players already trying to implement innovative eco-friendly ideas into their business operations.

Lots of great examples of more sustainable business models exist in the food sector as plant-based food options look to provide the same consumer experience for people while costing far fewer resources and emissions to produce than their traditional counterparts. The same goes for the cosmetics market where upcycled plant-based ingredients are being offered instead of the chemicals and additives which seem to be prevalent in the mainstream consumer market

Cornish Sustainable Businesses Lighting The Way

Here in Cornwall, there are lots of great businesses lighting the way towards green practices and sustainable business goals. At Arbor Farm, they are championing an innovative, sustainable, alternative land-management solution & growing system, that has the potential to rapidly draw down & store a significantly higher quantity of carbon than conventional, mass tree planting schemes.  

Cornwall's Chocolate Cove wonderful sustainable artisan chocolate

Cornwall’s Chocolate Cove, in St Ives, craft supreme artisan chocolate using organic raw ingredients and 100% plastic free and compostable ingredients. Mount Pleasant Eco Park, near Porthtowan, is a proper hub of all things eco-friendly where the community has come together to create a beautiful space to celebrate a more sustainable way of living.

Sprout Health Foods, in Newquay, source and stock a wonderful range of ethical and sustainable products, have an epic cafe serving up whole food goodness. They also host lots of events throughout the year promoting and educating people on how to become involved with a more sustainable lifestyle.

What Makes a Sustainable Business?

There are many factors which go into making sure a business is working with sustainability baked into it’s processes and ethos. One of the fundamental factors is the services or products it is actually involved in selling and promoting. There are some sectors of the economy which still work to promote goods or services simply aren’t sustainable and are often linked to big social issues which still need solving, such as mass consumerism and over production of goods.

Assuming that a company’s core focus isn’t at odds with eco-friendly values and sustainable models, here are a list of factors which can come into sustainable business decision-making to help improve its business sustainability model.

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Implementing waste reduction strategies such as recycling, composting, and reusing materials can significantly decrease the environmental impact of a business.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Investing in energy-efficient technologies, such as LED lighting, smart thermostats, and energy-efficient appliances, can reduce energy consumption and choosing renewable energy suppliers can help to offset the impacts of energy used.
  3. Sustainable Sourcing: Prioritise sourcing materials and ingredients from sustainable and ethical suppliers. This includes choosing suppliers who use environmentally friendly practices and adhere to fair labour standards.
  4. Carbon Footprint Reduction: Take steps to reduce the carbon footprint of operations, such as implementing telecommuting policies to reduce travel emissions, using renewable energy sources, and offsetting unavoidable emissions through carbon offset programs.
  5. Water Conservation: Implement water-saving measures such as installing low-flow faucets and toilets, fixing leaks promptly, and recycling wastewater where feasible.
  6. Transportation Alternatives: Encourage employees to use alternative transportation methods such as cycling, walking, carpooling, or using public transportation to reduce emissions from commuting.
  7. Green Packaging: Use eco-friendly packaging materials such as biodegradable, recyclable, or compostable packaging to reduce waste and minimise environmental impact.
  8. Employee Engagement: Educate and involve employees in sustainability initiatives by providing training on eco-friendly practices, soliciting their ideas for improvement, and recognising and rewarding sustainable behaviours.
  9. Community Engagement: Engage with the local community through volunteer programs, sponsorship of environmental initiatives, and partnerships with local non-profits to make a positive impact and build goodwill.
  10. Transparency and Accountability: Be transparent about sustainability efforts, goals, and progress. Regularly track and report on key sustainability metrics to hold the business accountable. Tools that provide insights into energy usage can guide more sustainable practices. BCorp’s impact assesment tool is one great example of this.
  11. Continuous Improvement: Adopt a mindset of continuous improvement by regularly reviewing and updating sustainability practices, seeking out new opportunities for innovation, and staying abreast of emerging best practices in sustainability.
  12. Donate a share of Profits: By donating a share of profits to charities and organisations dedicated to creating positive change in the world, a business is able to become a greater part of our planet’s solutions rather than being just another contributor to its decline.
Sustainable Business Practices helping to support tree reforestation projects

How Sustainable Businesses Can Make a Big Impact on the Environment

Words Alone Are Wind – Green Washing To Hide Inaction

Whether a business commits to the path of sustainability has far reaching consequences for their impact on our environment. Those that talk the talk and create greenwashing campaigns to mask their lack of action are a dime a dozen and it’s often some of the biggest and most prominent businesses who are culpable of playing this game.

Their wealth and successful sales charts will be worth nothing to them or any of us if things don’t get turned around in time for our beautiful natural world. The inaction of such companies can be used as added motivation to show that there is another way to grow an economy and it’s for the truly ethical businesses who care about more than just profit to lead the way.

Energy Efficiency Implications

By investing in energy-efficient technologies, using renewable energy sources, and reducing overall energy consumption, sustainable businesses can significantly lower their carbon footprint. This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions helps mitigate climate change and contributes to global efforts to limit global warming. On the flip side businesses that rely on outdated or inefficient technologies, as well as those that don’t prioritise energy efficiency, often have far higher carbon emissions. This is particularly true for industries with high energy consumption, such as manufacturing, transportation, and agriculture

Conservation of Natural Resources and Protection of Biodiversity

Sustainable businesses prioritise the efficient use of resources such as water, energy, and raw materials. Implementing measures to reduce waste, recycle materials, and use resources more efficiently all play a role in more eco-friendly business practices. Sustainable sourcing of materials and minimising habitat destruction can help protect biodiversity. By preserving ecosystems and trying to mitigate the negative impacts of human activities on wildlife and habitats, sustainable businesses play a crucial role in trying to slow and ultimately reverse the destructive effects we’re having on the planet.

When compared to businesses that rely on non-renewable resources or engage in unsustainable extraction practices, the negative connotations of the latter are immensely damaging for habitat destruction, deforestation, water pollution, and soil degradation. Unsustainable resource extraction from industries such as mining, logging, and agriculture can have particularly significant negative impacts on ecosystems and wildlife populations when not managed with the environment as a priority over profits.

Businesses that don’t prioritise waste reduction, recycling, and circular economy principles generate more waste. This includes both solid waste, such as packaging materials and industrial by-products, as well as hazardous waste from manufacturing processes. This waste often ends up in landfills or incinerators, leading to pollution and environmental degradation.

Sustainable businesses prioritise the efficient use of resources such as water, energy, and raw materials. By implementing measures to reduce waste, recycle materials, and use resources more efficiently, these businesses help conserve natural resources and reduce environmental degradation.

Social Responsibility, Ethical Inspiration and Leadership

Sustainable companies often prioritise social responsibility and ethical practices, including fair labor standards, community engagement, and support for marginalised communities. By promoting social equity and inclusion, these businesses contribute to a more just and equitable society, fostering stability and resilience in the face of social and environmental challenges. Sustainable businesses can also serve as leaders and role models in their industries, inspiring others to adopt environmentally friendly practices and driving positive change across entire sectors. By demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of sustainability, these businesses catalyse broader shifts towards a more sustainable and regenerative economy and show the big players that business can be about more than just profit margins.

The Challenges Involved With Running a Sustainable Business Model

While the benefits of sustainability are undeniable, running a sustainable business model comes with its unique set of challenges. One of the primary obstacles is the initial investment required to implement sustainable practices. While these practices often lead to long-term cost savings and environmental benefits, the upfront costs can be prohibitive for many businesses, especially smaller enterprises with limited resources. From investing in energy-efficient technologies to sourcing sustainable materials and implementing waste reduction measures, the transition to sustainability requires a significant financial commitment that may deter some businesses from taking action.

Another challenge is the complexity of navigating regulatory frameworks and standards related to corporate sustainability. With an increasing focus on environmental regulations, carbon emissions reporting, and sustainable supply chain practices, businesses must stay abreast of evolving requirements and ensure compliance with a myriad of regulations. Navigating this regulatory landscape can be daunting, particularly for businesses operating across multiple jurisdictions or industries. Additionally, ensuring transparency and accountability in sustainability reporting can pose challenges, as companies must accurately track and measure their environmental performance while adhering to established standards and frameworks.

Sustainable Supply Chain Management

There are also logistical challenges associated with sustainable supply chain management, particularly in industries with complex global supply chains. Ensuring that suppliers adhere to sustainable and ethical practices, verifying the origin and sustainability of raw materials, and managing the environmental impact of transportation and logistics operations are all critical considerations for sustainable businesses. Coordinating these efforts across disparate suppliers, regions, and stakeholders can be a logistical headache, requiring robust systems and processes for effective supply chain management.

Cultural Inertia – The Importance Of Changing Long Established Behaviours

Moreover, there may be resistance to change towards the concept of sustainability from within the organisation, particularly from employees accustomed to traditional ways of doing business. Implementing sustainable business practices often requires a cultural shift within the organisation, with employees needing to embrace new behaviors, attitudes, and ways of working. Resistance to change, lack of awareness or understanding of sustainability issues, and concerns about the perceived cost or inconvenience of sustainable business strategy initiatives can all pose challenges to successful implementation.

The Time Is Now, The Importance of Running a Sustainable Business in a Changing World

In an era marked by climate change, resource scarcity, and social inequality, genuinely sustainable businesses are more important than ever. In fact, they are fundamental to maintaining the stability of our planet and social structures going into the future. As we confront unprecedented challenges such as climate change, resource depletion, and biodiversity loss, the need for businesses to take action has become increasingly apparent. The time to act is now. Businesses that embrace sustainability will not only secure their own future but also contribute to building a more prosperous, resilient, and sustainable world for generations to come.

Can Businesses Be Nudged To Become More Ethical ?

Ethical considerations are increasingly shaping consumer preferences and purchasing decisions. Today’s consumers are not only concerned about the quality and price of products but also the values and practices of the companies behind them. As a result, ethical businesses that prioritise sustainability, transparency, and social responsibility should, hopefully, begin to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. The one big potential disruption to this is the prevalence of greenwashing and the lack of accountability for companies which simply pay lip service to the ideas involved with genuinely becoming a more sustainable business.

There’s a growing volume of talk on the subject and nearly all businesses are aware of the idea of sustainability but it seems like chasing profits often gets in the way of creating meaningful change. While the challenges of running a sustainable business can be significant, especially for long-established businesses, they are not insurmountable. With strategic planning, investment, and commitment, businesses can overcome these obstacles and reap the numerous benefits of sustainability, including cost savings, enhanced reputation, and resilience in the face of environmental and social challenges. This is in addition to the biggest benefit of all – being part of the solution rather than continuing to contribute to the problem.

For the big businesses to make meaningful change, two things need to happen. Firstly, Consumers need to become more discerning with the information they will swallow so that businesses are held accountable for their inaction when it comes to creating more sustainable business practices. Secondly, Businesses will have to accept smaller profit payouts for their shareholders so that they are able to invest in the sustainable business infrastructure, relevant to their particular industry, in order to transition into a sustainable business model for the future.

Which Charities We Support As Part Of Our Sustainable Business Practice

Sustainable Business Practices helping to support marine protection organisations

Here in Cornwall, it’s very easy to remember why trying to turn the tide of environmental decline is so important. We still have lots of beautiful spaces, wonderful beaches, estuaries and some magical woodland remaining, which all deserve our protection and respect as we make our way through our time here on the planet.

The sad truth is that the remaining beauty is often at the surface level with so many deeper problems lying below the surface of what we are able to perceive. Two examples of this which spring to mind are the undeniable leaching of micro plastics into the ocean on a vast scale or the ongoing UK sewage scandal where untreated sewage is discharged into UK rivers and coastlines on average over 1,091 times a day.

As part of our approach to sustainable business, we donate at least 10% of our profits to charitable organisations who we believe are helping to make meaningful change in there respective spheres of influence.

Surfers Against Sewage

Part of the reason any of us know about the UK Sewage discharge scandal is through the work of this stalwart organisation that has been standing up for the ocean for over 30 years now since its foundation by a group of Cornish surfers who were tired of swimming in the raw excrement that was being pumped into the sea. Three decades later and its mission is just as critical as it remains a small but might voice for the ailing health of our blue planet.

Ecosia

Ecosia is a search engine with a mission to plant trees and combat deforestation. By using its advertising revenue to fund tree-planting projects around the world, Ecosia harnesses the power of technology for environmental conservation. Ecosia’s efforts to restore ecosystems, mitigate climate change, and empower communities are an inspiration for what a better world might look like if more businesses and organisations were spending their efforts and profits on trying to reverse the deforestation which has been a result of centuries of human mistreatment of the environment around us.

Viva!

Viva! is a leading animal rights charity that campaigns for a just world for all those who inhabit it. Through advocacy, outreach, and education, Viva! works to raise awareness about the ethical, environmental, and health implications of animal agriculture. There is no shying away from the fact that a plant-based food production system is the most sustainable way for us to live and the fact that this is also the system which causes the least suffering for the animals, our fellow inhabitants of the planet makes it a double win. This is why Viva!’s work in promoting the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and exposing the injustice which occurs on factory farmed animals is so important to celebrate and support.

Our Most Important Sustainable Business Decision Is You

Sustainable Business Practices - 2 Hands Planting New Trees

Camel Valley Creative makes it’s most sustainable business decision every time we decide to partner with a business to help to promote them online. Whether that’s through our SEO driven web services, our creative video solutions or our low impact drone services every time we work for somebody we are helping to amplify their voice.

That’s why, now more than ever, we are actively seeking out partnerships with like-minded businesses who are all about creating meaningful change in this world. If that sounds like you, we’d love to hear from you so do get in touch and let us know how we can be of help with your next project.

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