As members of Hera Hub, a co-working space for women entrepreneurs, most of us are doing business on a relatively small scale compared to the Walmarts, Qualcomms, and Patagonias of this world. Incorporating sustainability into our business model and operations is often very low on our priority list and we may feel that it is something best left until later – when we have scaled up, when we are a more established business. I have learned though, that embedding sustainability into any size business early on will pay off significantly even in the short term.
Sustainability as a business strategy is no longer a fringe idea. Its benefits and ROI are rarely argued, but instead touted in major media and corporate annual reports. It’s not difficult to see how the most straightforward approaches to sustainability — energy efficiency, resource conservation, and waste reduction — can hugely improve bottom line profits for large global enterprises, but what about small to mid-size enterprises (SMEs) — why are we not seeing the same trend permeate this sector?
Even a cursory glance at the business news suggests that companies across the U.S. (and around the world) are embracing and embedding sustainability on an unprecedented level.