10 sustainable business practices to embrace this year

8 min read
Kylie de Boer

These days sustainable business practices are becoming more commonplace, with more and more businesses choosing to adopt a green approach. Sustainability looks at our environmental impact and what we can do to preserve the planet for future generations.

Research shows that Aussie consumers are willing to pay more for green products.

With World Environment Day coming up on the 5th of June, it’s the perfect time to look at what sustainable business practices you can embrace this year.

Editor’s note: Want to draw attention to your venture’s eco-friendly efforts? Register YourBusinessName.green and use it to create a microsite or simply direct it to the section of your business website that describes your sustainability efforts.

10 sustainable choices to consider for your business

Implementing sustainable business practices takes effort. However, a little creativity and planning can make adopting a green approach possible. Let’s take a look at some easy ways you can get started.

1. Empower employees to lead the way

Implementing sustainable business practices should involve the entire company. Organising brainstorming sessions can be a great way to get everyone involved and generate ideas.

You might be surprised at what employees have to offer when it comes to sustainable practices.

From using biodegradable packaging to minimising your carbon footprint by relying more heavily on local suppliers, employees may have ideas you wouldn’t think of yourself.

Take the time to train and educate workers so they feel part of the process and can watch for and share new ideas.

2. Energy efficiency

Reducing energy usage can be as simple as ensuring all employees power down and turn off equipment at the end of each day. Switching to energy-saving settings on electronic devices, where possible, is another simple change we can all make.

When purchasing electronic equipment, try to look for energy efficient options. EPEAT is a great resource to check out when looking for environmentally-friendly electronics.

Close-up of an LED light bulb

If your budget allows, you can take it a step further with energy-efficient lighting options, such as LED lighting.

LED lighting is not only more energy efficient, but also cost-effective in the long run.

As an alternative to air conditioning, you can consider installing fans and maximising the natural aspect of your building to further reduce energy usage. You might also want to consider moving to solar energy, since the long-term savings far outweigh the initial upfront costs (check out the government rebates here).

3. Water conservation

Addressing water consumption is another opportunity to move toward more sustainable business practices. Installing water-saving taps and toilets will conserve water and reduce outgoing costs.

If water usage is a big part of your business, consider looking into rainwater tanks and grey water usage for lawns, gardens or cooling systems to reduce your use of drinkable water.

4. Cloud computing and document management

Using paper for managing documents can have huge environmental impacts, not to mention the storage space it requires. Paper copies of business documents are also subject to loss due to fire or flood.

With more businesses moving to an online or work-from-home operation, cloud computing is a great option, as is Teams for video conferencing (included with Microsoft 365).

Cloud computing offers an effective way to save, file, store, edit and manage all documentation. Remove the need for paper and gain the added benefit of accessing all information remotely with ease.

5. Waste management

Why not organise for your local waste management service to come and speak to employees about waste management and recycling? A lot of times, staff members want to do their part for the planet, but are unsure where to start.

Your local waste management service is a great source of easy sustainable business practices to start.

For a simple, low-cost option look at having separate bins for different recyclable and waste items. Composting bins are also another green approach to waste management. The key is making it easy for everyone to do their bit and get involved.

For more sustainable materials, The Better Packing Co offers businesses eco-friendly packaging options. Many eCommerce businesses are looking to stand out from the crowd by swapping out packing materials like styrofoam, which can only be land-filled.

Using sustainable materials that can either be recycled or will biodegrade in a landfill will reduce your impact on the environment and may give you a competitive edge with potential customers.

6. Chemical waste management

Chemical usage is one area that is often overlooked, but can have a huge negative effect on the environment.

When it comes to workspace cleanliness and hygiene, look to greener cleaning products.

Toxic chemicals not only harm the environment, but they can also cause allergic reactions and increase healthcare costs.

If you outsource cleaning to a third party, try partnering with a service that uses natural products instead.

7. Travel

Person getting ready to ride a bike

Travel can have a massive impact on the environment. As a business, you can organise a ride-to-work day challenge for all your fitness-loving employees. You could even organise a car-pooling initiative amongst staff or offer incentives for using public transport.

The pandemic proved to business owners the world over that video conferencing is a great alternative to business travel. Not only does it reduce carbon emissions, but saves costs and reduce staff downtime.

Perhaps you could consider donating a percentage of each sale or monthly company revenue to improving the planet.

Groups such as REFOREST NOW, One Tree Planted and others partner with businesses to regrow our forests.

Supporting organisations like these also shows your customers your commitment toward sustainability.

8. Supporting sustainable organisations

Perhaps you could consider donating a percentage of each sale or monthly company revenue to improving the planet. 

Groups such as REFOREST NOW, One Tree Planted and others partner with businesses to regrow our forests. 

Supporting organisations like these also shows your customers your commitment toward sustainability.

9. Sustainable materials

When embracing sustainable business practices, it is good to look at all parts of your operation. To improve the sustainability in your supply chain, look to partner with businesses who are also taking a greener approach.

It is great to be open and transparent with your customers on where their products come from.

10. Sustainable partnerships

Partnering with other local eco-conscious and sustainable businesses allows you to learn more and see what others are doing.

You could try organising regular team activities and donating time to support a local sustainable organisation. It is a great way to encourage teamwork and for everyone to become more active in their role towards sustainability. Posting photos on social media of the team in action will let customers know you’re serious about saving our planet.

Why sustainable business practices are good for business

The benefits of sustainable business practices go beyond just helping the environment. They can also:

  • Conserve resources, reduce costs and improve workplace safety
  • Increase awareness of your business by bringing your business up in web searches for "green businesses"
  • Raise market standards and give your venture a competitive edge
  • Improve productivity among workers who share your commitment
  • Improve recruitment and retention rates among workers who care about environmental issues
  • Assist with regulation compliance
  • Improve your chances of attracting financial backing and investors

With concern for climate change increasing globally, it’s time to get serious about using sustainable materials and other eco-friendly business practices.

Examples of companies using sustainable business practices

Person holding mobile phone with recycle symbol on screen

It can be encouraging to look at other businesses paving the way toward sustainable business practices. Some great examples to look at include:

Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is focussed on building products that protect the environment, while allowing greater access to energy. Considered one of the most sustainable companies, they help reduce C02 emissions and are committed to slowing the rise of the earth’s temperature.

You can read about other businesses striving for sustainability here.


This well-known outdoor clothing brand aims to be completely C02 neutral by 2025. Using solar energy and sustainable materials, they strive to have a completely sustainable production cycle. They also promote waste reduction by teaching consumers how to repair and extend the life cycle of their clothes.


As a business, Koh is determined to reduce the use of toxic chemicals. They offer consumers certified effective, eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning solutions.

Embrace sustainable practices

The options really are endless when it comes to doing your bit for the environment. It might seem challenging, but the trick is to think long-term.

Remember, one small change can have a massive impact.

Start with simple changes and keep building. If we all do our part, it will go a long way to protect the planet and its resources for future generations.