Since the beginning of April 2023, I have had a huge amount of interest in my SOW services which support small business owners in taking their first steps on their sustainability journey. Their interest has peaked for various reasons,
- Seeing other businesses talk about this and who have already started their journey and are standing out.
- They have had to complete a tender or preferred suppliers list and were unable to evidence effectively what they had been doing.
- An employee, client, or supplier has asked them about what actions they are taking or what policies they have in place.
- They are aware of cost savings to be had by implementing sustainable choices and procurements for their business and need to find out more.
- They want to stand out from their competitors and are willing to embrace changes by highlighting practices and policies that affect this.
- They want to demonstrate commitment and gain trust from like-minded clients, suppliers, and stakeholders which will enhance their brand reputation.
- Ensuring that they future-proof the business by being ahead of any future regulations and sustainable practices that provide stability and long-term viability for the business.
- Ensuring that they mitigate any risks by diversifying supply chains and including local or UK sources and investing in renewable energy.
- Embracing sustainability to drive innovation and finding new ways to reduce waste, improve efficiencies, and develop new products and services.
My SOW programme uses CSR-A’s 4 pillars to take a look at what you are already doing, and plan to do.
These 4 pillars are
- The environment focuses on eco-issues such as climate change but the areas that your business depends on. This can range from electricity, heating and lighting, water, supply chains, recycling, office procurement and deliveries and recycling, reducing, and reusing products and services where you can.
- A workplace that looks at activities including the procedures and policies that improve products and services for employees, clients, & customers. This can range from flexible working, cloud document storage, online meetings, reduced paper usage, unsubscribing from emails and not attaching documents to emails, reductions in travel, green investments, and working with sustainable clients and supply chains.
- The community which focuses on the way your business operates with other organisations to improve the quality of life of the people in the local community. How, where, and why do you operate and the areas you support in your local networks and forums, buying and supporting local businesses, mentoring, networking & memberships.
- Philanthropy focuses on the donations of time and money to good causes and supporting charities through volunteering, donation, or sponsorship. This can also mean pro bono work, donations of money and products, giving back, and free or discounted advice.
I help small business owners to take a look at what they were doing, want to do, and could do to start implementing sustainability into their small businesses. They are generally aware of some impacts they were making but want to review this and brainstorm further in order to create a sustainability statement to evidence what they were doing and had pledged and also a roadmap of actions for their business to hold them accountable. This enables them to get their sustainability off the starting blocks.
You can download your own 4 Pillars checklist here to get started.
The SOW programme takes about 1 month to complete based on the amount of time the SME has set aside. This is the optimum amount of time and we work together finally producing documents that are tailored to the business and used by the business as they see fit now and for the future.
- Sustainability Statement which is a 1-page document that can be used externally on a website or sent to clients, suppliers and stakeholders and used as evidence of your current status.
- A Roadmap of Actions that is a work-in-progress document laying out what you have done already and what you plan to do in each of the four pillars. This can be used to update internally at management meetings and can evidence the details and status of a project.
The process for the SME’s involvement to create the above includes a discovery call, a questionnaire, and two 1 hours Zoom discussion calls.
I then collate all of the information discussed and produce draft documents and add any changes to produce the final documents to complete this work.
Here are what two recent clients had to say.
So far I have helped a Solicitors / Accountants / Online Marketing Specialist / 3 x Graphic Designers / Software Developers / Education Researcher / Wealth Management Advisor
Remember there are many benefits to making sustainable impacts for your business.
- Winning new business from like-minded clients.
- Enhancing relationships with your stakeholders
- Attracting and retaining talented employees.
- Raising your profile within your industry and generally to others.
- Access to funding opportunities.
- Standing out from the crowd.
- Reducing long-term costs for your business.
- Increasing customer retention.
- Reach new audiences.
- Collaborations with like-minded people.
- Make a difference and help future generations.
There are also many reasons why you will reap rewards by weaving sustainability into the core of your business, and every business will have a different focus.
However, there are huge advantages to investing the time and focus on sustainability to gain recognition for your business – here are some reasons why;
- Sustainability provides your business with positive publicity. People’s ears prick up and they take notice of you and what your business is doing especially when sharing stories.
- Having a sustainability journey woven into your business builds your competitive advantage, especially in a tender process. These tender processes can be lengthy and complex and include a scoring process which is where your sustainability efforts and accreditations will score well.
- Your environmental impacts will save money on areas such as energy, reduce waste, and will make a difference in all your procurement choices.
- Being sustainable will attract investment opportunities, and suppliers and also help retain and gain new clients and employees Your sustainability journey will expose your commitment, processes, causes & values.
- Being focussed on sustainability will enhance and develop relationships with existing and new contacts and improve your business reputation.
- Investing time and energy in sustainable projects and goals will reap rewards many times over in the long run.