These are interesting times for business sustainability. The world is changing and businesses that are not transparently seeking sustainable practice will increasingly be left behind. However, it still takes real courage to fully commit to sustainable practice.
Bath House are artisans of fragrance, bodycare, handcare and skincare. They operate in a sector full of polluting chemicals, single-use plastics and energy-intensive production. Sustainability in this context is both challenging and costly, and therefore inherently risky. It’s a risk that Bath House are taking, recognising not only their responsibilities to the planet but also the rapidly changing nature of consumer demands.
Re-fillable aluminium (pictured) and glass containers are being introduced across the board, a recycling service for the refill pouches is being provided, ingredients are 98% natural (and increasing), all production is in England close to their six shops… the list goes on.
They’re very worthy of their Green Small Business certified status and thanks to a lovely Christmas gift, I can also highly recommend their Bergamot & Amber fragrance! 🙂
Sustainable cosmetics is just one aspect of our work. Check out our case studies to see the host of other business types going green.
An increasing number of construction companies are getting Green Small Business certification, the latest of which is Rubix Construction – a residential construction company with a growing reputation for achieving stunning home transformations across South London.
As a member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme they are required, among other things, to:
- identify, manage and promote environmental issues
- seek sustainable solutions, minimise waste, the carbon footprint and resources
Green Small Business certification proved to be the ideal route to demonstrate their commitment to achieving these goals, providing them with a systematic and practical framework for managing their environmental impacts.
“Green Small Business has given us a clear and achievable plan on how to be more ‘green’. It is making us think more carefully about how we do things, and has given us a framework on how to make improvements. This will not only benefit the environment but also hopefully make the business more efficient and cost effective.”
‘MarTech Consultancy’ was a new one on us but we soon realised it’s one of those things that most of businesses need these days – help with the technology that powers our marketing efforts. Fly are more than just another web development agency with marketing technology expertise though. They offer strategic, business thinking, backed with MBA-level marketing expertise.
This burgeoning and dynamic business have longer-term aspirations for B-Corp status and see Green Small Business certification as a first step in systematically addressing their environmental impacts. Founder and lead consultant, Tim De La Salle, is clear about the benefits:
“I see this as a great first step for us, in baking sensible and meaningful environmental policy into the business. It also allows us to demonstrate to our clients, particularly our not-for-profit audience, that we do mean what we say. In turn, this is a win, win, win; good for us, good for the planet and good for the bottom line”
Inspired by accommodation overseas, St Marks Stays provides a place where groups (and their pets) can have a place to stay and hang out together in beautiful Cumbria, whilst having things organised for them by live-in hosts Joanne and Damian Withers.
Joanne and Damian are committed to making their business as green as possible, particularly by wrestling with the challenges of lighting and heating a large 19th century ex-vicarage and school. Green Small Business has enabled them to think through all of their significant environmental impacts, both negative and positive, and provided them with a structured approach to managing these impacts in the short and longer term. Joanne envisages big benefits for their business:
“The Green Small Business approach gives us a structure to work with and aim for, rather than feeling the task of being green feeling too big to achieve and beyond our finances. Our customers will appreciate the changes we are making by being able to show the certification and it will attract like minded collaborators into our business. It was a very straight forward process and we are so glad we invested in this.”
Green Small Business was established to enable all businesses to think about their environmental impacts, take steps to address them and maximise the business benefits from doing so.
Lots of businesses have now benefited from getting Green Small Business certified but plenty more have thought about doing so and not taken it any further. We don’t take it personally…
From talking to some of those who have downloaded our free guide or made enquiries, one of the barriers to taking the plunge is a fear that they are not ‘green’ enough and that going green could be too challenging.
We do want the process to be challenging. Being Green Small Business certified means something.
BUT we recognise that every business has to start where they are and to move forward at a pace they are comfortable with.
That’s why becoming a Green Small Business involves meeting only two criteria:
- You have an environmental policy and action plan that incorporates all of your significant environmental impacts.
- That the actions in your action plan demonstrate a commitment to addressing those impacts in some way.
The scale and the pace of change in becoming greener is up to you. All we look for is an honest and genuine commitment to continuous improvement.
You might well be an eco-warrior with a radical approach to doing business.
You might equally be a newcomer to thinking about the environmental impacts of your business and with unknown scope for change.
Either way, Green Small Business is ideal for your small business. Download our free guide or check out the rest of our website for more details.
Shed 1 Gin is an award-winning distillery on the edge of the English Lake District. They produce ‘small batch, classically distilled gin with a contemporary style’. We normally provide all of our services remotely, but we took the time to go visit this ‘green distillery’ and we may have sampled some of their fare…
The pride in their gin-making was evident. Equally evident was their honest and committed approach to managing their environmental impacts. They work hard to ensure the most sustainable packaging, source all ingredients as locally as possible (including foraging for blackberries!), are re-jigging their distillery so that all cooling water is recycled in a closed loop system, have joined the Recorked UK scheme to encourage recycling of their corks and are working towards a bottle re-filling system for local customers. They really are a green distillery. For more, see their sustainability page.
Every Green Small Business is different. Some are just starting on their journey towards becoming more green. For others, like Shed 1 Gin, Green Small Business certification is as much about recognising and celebrating their efforts as it is about identifying new ways of improving environmental performance. See their case study for more details.
Gin-maker extraordinaire Zoe was delighted with the outcome of the process: It has always been important for us to be as sustainable as we could be. It was great to get some affirmation for our efforts up to this point. What we found useful was the extra research that Green Small Business did for us and pointing us in the right direction.
Surely one of the most beautiful workspaces in London, the Boathouse Design studio was originally designed for building and maintaining boats. The space now offers a unique office experience for the companies who work there, with its natural light, stunning view over the Thames and its carefully restored and converted interiors.
Amaze Property, the owners of the space, sought Green Small Business certification as a means of gaining recognition for, and adding structure to, their efforts to be environmentally responsible. It provided them with “an incentive to go greener” as well as being “a good promotional tool which sets us apart from other co-working spaces”.
Lisa Smith, the owner of Ginger Bakers, understands that being kind to the environment is not just good for her conscience but good for her business too. Lisa said: “We decided to do it because it’s a good thing for the business. Hopefully it will save on costs and we want to be doing something to contribute to helping the environment – we want to make sure we are doing as much as we can.”
Her Lake District-based business has long been committed to responsible sourcing of ingredients but was keen to take a structured approach to addressing environmental impacts across all aspects of the business. She was full of praise for how easy the Green Small Business process was and the potential for it to make a real difference to her business.
“It looks at energy use and things like that to see where we can make savings. The process is really simple and straightforward and a good starting point for businesses to make changes in how we do things. It’s been really convenient and the initial work really doesn’t take much time. Time is really precious and this didn’t take up much of our time.”
Lisa added: “It’s given us a prompt to look into these things like heat systems further. The report also highlights the good things businesses are already doing – there is no criticism and it is a very supportive document for the business.”
Green Small Business has recently had the immense pleasure of working with six inspirational charities to help them meet Big Lottery and EU funding requirements. All six were part of a project funded through the Building Better Opportunities programme, run by the European Social Fund and Big Lottery Fund, which is seeking to tackle the root causes of poverty, promote social inclusion and drive local jobs and growth.
Working through the certification process for Green Small Business enabled all six charities to map out their environmental impacts, both positive and negative, and to clearly articulate their plans for addressing those impacts. For us, it was a real inspiration to hear about the work they do to support some of the most vulnerable people in our society. For them, we certainly hope it was an opportunity to appreciate their potential to make a difference in meeting the environmental challenges of our time.
Some are already blazing a trail. Right2Work provide learning and employment opportunities for a range of different people including those with learning disabilities and mental health conditions. They do so partly through an incredible re-use and recycling initiative, which is diverting huge amounts of local waste from landfill.
If you need an environmental policy or some form of environmental certification for your charity or small business, download our free guide or get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!
Southcombe Gloves, based in the South West of England, has been supplying, designing and manufacturing gloves since 1847.
A fifth-generation family-owned and run company, they take their environmental responsibilities seriously and were keen to demonstrate that to their customers. Green Small Business certification provided them with an opportunity to do just that.
They took on the preparation of their Green Small Business environmental management system themselves, using the free Green Small Business handbook and the linked ‘Making it Easy’ pack. Their policy and action plans are wide-ranging, covering everything from running their premises and manufacturing processes to staff travel and company administration.
“We think it will give confidence to our customers and potential customers that we take our responsibilities to the environment seriously and that Green Small Business has given us a chance to demonstrate this without going down more cumbersome and resource-heavy routes more suited to larger companies” (Alistair Forbes, Southcombe Brothers Ltd).