According to an Office for National Statistics report, the low-carbon economy in the United Kingdom increased by five percent from 40.5 billion pounds in 2015 to 42.6 billion pounds in 2016, which accounts for approximately one percent of the entire United Kingdom-based non-economic turnover. On the other hand, the LCEGS (low carbon and environmental goods and services) employment rates saw an increase of 3.3 percent, accounting for 208,000 FTE (full-time equivalents) being employed in 2016. Such figures clearly show that the increased demand for sustainable/green businesses results in various opportunities for companies to play their role in the LCEGS market and become a part of the green movement.
However, not all businesses can easily and quickly identify these green business growth opportunities, typically small to medium-sized companies that lack funds and resources. So, instead, they take the safe route and opt for traditional growth opportunities. However, these SMEs must not forget that these typical business growth opportunities leave a nasty carbon footprint on our environment. With that in mind, let us look at a few ways your company can capitalize on green business growth opportunities. Some of these ways are listed down below.
Offer products that leave a low carbon footprint
These days, there is an increase in the demand for services and products that help organizations and individuals reduce their carbon footprint. So, have you ever considered supplying products that have environmental benefits? If you haven’t, consider changing a few things. Some environmentally friendly efforts include completely redesigning products to align with green principles, acquiring sustainable courier services, changing product packaging, or sourcing from sustainable inventory providers.
That said, you need to hire a business manager equipped with the latest knowledge on best green business practices or train your employees to be at par. If you’re opting for the second route, consider an online MBA no GMAT required to make the best use of your employees’ time while also keeping the carbon footprint low. Your employees won’t have to burn extra fossil fuels merely to go back and forth to campus while enrolled in a distance learning program. Still, these distance learning programs will equip them with the necessary skills to identify and capitalize on more eco-friendly business opportunities.
Keep track of changing customer preferences
As today’s consumer is more sustainability-conscious than ever before, the demand for products and services that support their efforts to protect and strengthen our world’s natural environment will increase. With that in mind, businesses need to take advantage of this demand carefully.
So, watch out for companies offering sustainable products and services or buying renewable energy-based tech solutions. You can learn a thing or two from them. Moreover, keep track of consumers’ preferences in your target industry and develop products and services with sustainability in mind.
Apply for environmental management certifications
As the business landscape moves towards greener operations, it also changes consumers’ preferences for sustainability and green products and services. However, in such a case, applying for and getting an environmental management accreditation for your business will be vital to your success in the environmentally-conscious business marketplace.
Getting relevant certifications will allow your business to limit its carbon footprint, get access to green supply chains, support your green business strategy, and improve your business’s pro-sustainability and green brand reputation.
Try green finance and funding options
The lack of ability to attract finance and funds from external providers will always be a significant pitfall that prevents businesses from leveraging sustainable/green initiatives. However, such a thing isn’t surprising at all. It might be down to the fact that green initiatives require tons of capital investments from international funding agencies, sectors regulators, and countries that are superpowers and leaders in sustainable energy.
That said, you should get in touch with your federal, state, or local governments and ask them if any such green funding and finance options are available to green business owners. Chances are there will be a couple of these that you can leverage!
Keep track of energy efficiency grants
In order to improve your business’s resources and energy efficiency, you must find a balance between being competitive and being sustainable/green. Better, sustainable heating, cooling, water supply system, and lighting will improve your business’s operational efficiencies and performance while cutting energy costs in half.
Moreover, companies can apply for SME grants of up 15,000 pounds, which they can utilize to cover the costs of energy-efficient solutions at their business’s location. In addition, these grants can cover up to 65 percent of the costs of the entire work put in to incorporate these energy efficiency measures.
Leverage opportunities present in infrastructure projects
Local and international infrastructure projects provide businesses with perfect opportunities to develop new supply chains and support existing ones. In addition, these infrastructural projects can significantly impact responsible supplying chain development designed according to environmental impact reduction in mind.
For instance, the HS2 project is an example of a promise that delivers on green/sustainable value, which is a vital part of a supplier selection process. Therefore, the project requires that suppliers show sustainability credentials during the tendering phase and fulfill HS2 sustainability requirements.
Network, network, and network some more
To forge, harness, promote, and learn about green business growth opportunities, there is no better way to do so than to get up from your couch and look for networking opportunities. That said, you have to be careful when selecting the networking opportunities you want to participate in. For example, various well-established networks in the D2N2 LEP region offer energy efficiency initiatives, support, and advice to businesses looking to cater to the LCEGS.
Another example is the ERDF Low Carbon Business Network, funded by the University of Derby. This networking opportunity provides businesses with access to custom-designed project assistance, environmental management accreditations, and access to regional supply chains. After all, diligently participating in a green-centered network of companies will help you access LCEGS markets while developing collaborative sustainability processes. It will also have excellent spill-over across varying industries where businesses only cater to a local audience.
These days, chances are your customers will care more about the environment and think twice before buying products when they don’t know its impact on the environment. However, going green has tons of benefits that most businesses are missing out on. So, with that in mind, if you don’t know whether you should take your business in the ‘green’ direction or not, consider the benefits mentioned in this article to change your perspective about sustainability and decide accordingly.
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