Growing your business

How to Buy More Environmentally Friendly Stock and Produce

18 November 2019
4 minute read

Alex Woods

As we all become increasingly aware of environmental changes, we’ve seen both businesses and consumers taking small steps towards a more sustainable future. Now, more than ever, business owners need to keep up with their competitors and adapt to the demand of more environmentally conscious consumers. 

In fact, a report from Unilever has shown that a third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.

So while it may seem like a huge overhaul, it really doesn’t have to be. In reality, making a few smart switches when purchasing stock and produce can make all the difference. 

Here are a few ways you can start:

Buy sustainable produce and products

If you work in the hospitality industry or own a food or drinks business then it could be time to look at the produce you order in. One way to do this is by sourcing more local produce. It has less distance to travel which reduces carbon emissions and means you’ll be getting fresher ingredients straight to your door. You can also reduce the amount of meat and dairy you buy by increasing your vegetarian and vegan menu options. According to scientists ‘Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet’.

Another option to consider is buying in more organic wines. Unlike regular wine, organic wine doesn’t use chemicals or farming practices that are harmful to the environment.

Similarly, if you’re a retailer you might want to look at stocking products that are more environmentally friendly. This could include products that do not contain toxic materials, products that can be recycled or are made from recycled materials, and products that avoid excessive packaging. 

Reduce single-use plastic

Lots of large retailers are trying to go plastic free which saw health and beauty chain Boots start switching from plastic to paper bags earlier this year. You could try adopting a similar practice in your own business and even have your branding and logo printed onto your bags. This serves as a great walking advert for your initiative!

If you’re a food or drinks company then you could consider replacing plastic cutlery and containers with eco friendly versions which are both compostable and biodegradable.

Buy green products

Switching to green cleaning products is not only a great way to protect the people using the products, but also helps to prevent harmful chemicals being released into the environment. Before buying cleaning products, carry out some simple research on products that are kinder to the environment and look out for hazardous chemical warnings on labels.

If you’re in the health and beauty sector, you can review the types of products you are using and switch to more environmentally friendly alternatives. WhiP hair salon in Hackney, London have made this their unique selling point by proudly boasting that they only stock forward-thinking vegan, organic and cruelty-free products. 

Be energy efficient

If your business uses any electronic equipment such as computers, kettles, or heating systems then it could be worth switching over to renewable energy sources. This includes sources such as wind power, solar power and hydroelectric power. Start by getting in touch with your energy supplier and seeing what options you have for switching. Although this option can sometimes work out a little more expensive, there are now an increasing amount of competitive deals as more and more businesses switch over.

When buying new equipment for your business you could also look out for energy rating labels on the products to ensure that they are energy efficient.

It only takes a few small steps to make a big difference so why not give it a try?

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