The Impact of Small Businesses on the Environment

Influence of small businesses on the environment

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We are doing this blog to highlight the impact businesses have on the environment and how we can help protect it. Since we are a cog in the industry, we have focused on such because change begins from home.SMEs undermine their role in the environment, assuming their impact is significantly less compared to large companies. 

Moreover, we are favorably biased towards SMEs when it comes to the environment.   It’s because of our collective tendency to assume something large would have a significant impact and something small, not so.

That assumption couldn’t be further from reality.

SMEs employ more than half of the world’s workforce.

These small yet powerful entities contribute 40% to the GDP.

They are credited with innovation and growth.

And now comes the jolt.

At least 50% of the GHGs (Greenhouse gases) are produced by SMEs in the business sector. 

Likewise, the efforts small businesses make towards the environment can have a significant impact both in the short and long term.

Sustainable Development Goals for Small Businesses

According to Wiki, any business with 1 to 49 employees is a small enterprise. Those hiring between 50 to 249 people come under medium-sized enterprises. 

Perhaps you wonder how such small businesses can contribute to nearly half of the emissions.

Almost 90% of the businesses fall under this category. For example, the Australian economy comprises 98% SMEs. Naturally, they employ the most people. What does it mean in terms of the environment? 

In a word, SMEs can affect people and bring the change that’s needed to save our world. The following are a few sustainable development goals that SMEs can help achieve collectively:

  • Responsible Consumption
  • Clean Water & Sanitation
  • Sustainability
  • Life Below Water
  • Partnerships for the Goals
  • Life on Land
  • Zero Hunger

The zero-hunger goal does not imply SMEs should begin distributing free meals. So, what can they do?

It’s quite common for team members to order lunch and throw away leftovers. SMEs can encourage employees to avoid such practices with gentle reminders such as a single sandwich, depending on the ingredients, produces 399–843 g CO2 eq. per sandwich.

At other times, small businesses can remind people of the harsher truths.

The UN reported that 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021.

 It is 2024.

The World Counts reports that 9 million people die of hunger each year. 

Not many are aware of these facts. SMEs can raise awareness if nothing else.

Measures to Reduce the Impact of Your Business

Whether you run a 5-person team or have 50 people, your team can make a difference. Moreover, such endeavors also help in boosting employee engagement and foster a feeling of unity and togetherness.

1. Reducing CO2 Emissions

Encourage employees to carpool, ride bikes, or rely on public transportation for commuting.

2. Conserving Resources

Many superiors in SMEs leave the lights and AC on in their offices even when not in use but expect their junior staff to conserve energy resources. I recall a CEO leading by example instead of words. He would always turn off the energy resources when leaving his office.

3. Partnerships with Sustainable Businesses

Many small businesses purchase goods and services from sustainable vendors. Again, these efforts lend a business goodwill and improve its image in the eyes of the customers. Whether it’s bottled water for the staff, or office stationery, small businesses are doing whatever they can and so can you.

Munzai’s Solutions Contribution

We are committed to doing our bit for the environment. Though it may not seem much, we know each little step goes a long way in saving our planet.

1. Minimum Paperwork

We can’t take credit for this really because we are a digital sales agency. You are right, why mention it then? The following parallels will help in drawing a clear picture.

TraditionalDigital
MarketingMarketing
Newspapers Websites 
Magazine adsSocial networking sites
BrochuresContent & Video Marketing
Business CardsE-business cards
AdvertisementAdvertisement
BillboardsBanner ads
TV and radio adsGoogle ads
MailMail
Fliers, postcards & catalogsEmail
MeetingsMeetings
In-person meetings  Video meetings
TelemarketingTelemarketing
Yellow Pages              Digital databases

Does that mean a digital business has a positive impact on the environment? Where fossil fuel (video meetings instead of in-person meetings) and paper reduction are concerned, yes. 

But. It is a very serious but.

Digital agencies run on the internet.

Do you see where I am going with this?

Let us for a moment think the internet is a country, what do you think is its energy consumption? According to Greenpeace, it would be on No. 5, just below Japan. 

Then why are we so focused on paper reduction? Because of the following grim stats about the paper industry:

  • 200 million trees are chopped down daily for production
  • Ranks third in the world’s total energy consumption
  • 10% of the freshwater reserves are consumed by it
  • A single A4 sheet takes up 10 to 20 liters of water
  • 69094 million m3/year of toxic pollutants discharged 

Based on this context, a shift towards the digital still gives us better odds. And at Munzai Solutions, we have made that shift.

2. Cooling Systems

4% of the GHG emissions come from the cooling units. 

However, in the sweltering heat, we can’t ask our employees to keep the temperature at 24 degrees Celsius, the suggested temperature for efficient energy consumption. 

So, what do we do? We ensure regular maintenance of our systems. It ensures they work at optimum levels and do not release more pollutants than necessary.

3. Energy-saving equipment

Laptops have a better ecological footprint than desktops due to their efficient energy output. We have minimized the use of desktop computers and use them only where necessary. It helps us in doing our bit for the environment but is also quite convenient for our team. 

Instead of being bound to their workstation, our employees can move around with the laptop and sit in different areas such as the lobby or the lunch area. This option gives them more freedom and enhances their productivity.

4. Facilitating Remote Work

We have remote SDRs and marketing specialists. This is a win-win situation for our team and the planet. They can work from the comfort of their
homes while going green at the same time. In remote work, their daily fuel consumption is not minimized but eliminated. 

5. Using Digital Platforms

We believe in digital transformation to propel businesses. And equally importantly, to protect the environment. We rely on modern software and platforms to do our tasks and help small businesses.

Conclusion

Small businesses can play a pivotal role in protecting the environment and ensuring a better future. Depending on financial resources, businesses can invest in modern technologies to cut back their carbon footprint. We should also encourage employees to use best practices whether they are at the office or their homes. 

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