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Steps towards a more sustainable small business

Making significant, sustainable changes may seem daunting for businesses low on time, budget and resources, but it's now more accessible than ever.

Going greener can help your small business reduce costs, become more resilient and make a lasting positive impact now and in the future.

A few small changes can make your business sustainable – in more ways than one. Not only can you help the planet, going greener may even help your cashflow. In a recent survey of Australian shoppers, over half said sustainability was an important factor when making a purchase.

If, like many small businesses, you’re low on time, tight on budget and have limited resources, the idea of reducing your carbon footprint may seem daunting. But sustainable tools and technology are more accessible than ever, and even little changes can make a big difference.

Here are some steps you can start taking to make your business more sustainable today.

1. Choose sustainable partners and suppliers 

All businesses exist as part of a wider network. If you’re serious about being more sustainable, aligning yourself with partners and suppliers who share your values is important. This could mean different things depending on your industry and what you do.

It may mean that your partners use sustainable materials and recycle. Or perhaps your suppliers focus on sustainable sourcing and ethical production.

It’s not just business-specific supplies you can consider – things like sustainable toilet paper and cleaning products can all play a part in reducing your business’ environmental footprint.

2. Reduce your consumption 

Reducing your water and energy usage may be easier than you think – often, it’s just a case of making a few changes or building new habits. Here are three areas where you can often reduce your water and energy usage.

Taps - Switching to energy-efficient faucets will help save water. While you’re installing them, check for leaks and drips.

Appliances - Standby power makes up around 10% of your power bill. Turning appliances off at the wall when not in use can make a big difference to how much power you use. To make it even easier, you can use cut-out switches that will do this automatically.

Lights - Get in the habit of turning off the lights when you leave the room, and encourage your staff to do the same. You may also want to consider installing automatic lighting sensors that will turn off when nobody is in the room.

When it comes to reducing your energy usage, the first step is to understand how much you’re using and why. This is where an energy efficiency audit can be helpful. Your power bill should have some information about your usage. You can use an energy monitoring app or plug-in monitor for more in-depth information.

3. Switch to more sustainable energy

If your budget – and rooftop – allow, our solar systems can help you set up your own mini power station. Producing your solar energy directly offsets the energy you consume from the grid, reducing your power bills and relieving pressure on the planet – and your wallet.

4. Offset your carbon emissions

Carbon offsets help reduce your carbon footprint by compensating for the emissions your business produces.

To offset your carbon emissions, you can buy offset units that contribute to projects that reduce, remove or capture emissions.

An easy way to do this is by adding Carbon Neutral, certified by Climate Active, to your AGL gas or electricity plans. They help offset carbon emissions associated with your business's energy, while supporting local and international projects that deliver real benefits for the planet.

5. Shine brighter with LEDs

LEDs are a greener way to light up your business premises. These bulbs boast a longer lifespan and are up to 75% more energy-efficient than a traditional lightbulb – so you’ll save time and money while contributing to a greener future.

We can help you upgrade your business lighting system. AGL’s LED product range includes a carbon-neutral light option, certified by Climate Active, and you may even be eligible for a government rebate or grant.

6. Go paperless and embrace remote working

Thanks to the cloud, more businesses are going paperless and getting rid of paper files altogether. Cloud technology can help you stay more organised and save on printing and paper costs – and it could help the environment too.

The cloud lets you and your team work from anywhere and still access everything you need to keep your business humming, making it easier for your staff to work remotely. Remote working can positively impact the environment as it reduces commuting and pollution – and with fewer people in the office, you can reduce your power consumption and costs.

7. Reduce waste

Almost one-third of Australia’s small and medium businesses have already adopted more sustainable packaging practices, using recyclable or reusable packaging. So if you haven’t already made the switch, look for FSC-certified products and make sure any plastics are made from recycled materials where possible.

Look for opportunities to upcycle or recycle within your business – from mobile phones and old computers to fire extinguishers, gas bottles or polystyrene. Local recycling centres may collect these from your premises, so schedule this into your business operating cycle.

Move towards a more sustainable business

To future proof your small business and help look after the planet, learn more about our sustainable energy solutions.

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