How D.C. Small Businesses Practice Sustainability in 2022
By Rita Jaime
While making money is an important part of business, so is protecting our planet. If you own a small business and are considering sustainable business practices, this article is for you. Regardless of the industry, organizations across the country are taking measures to support sustainability initiatives and are making eco-conscious decisions. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded $3.6 million to 18 different groups and organizations through the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize to promote clean energy. While energy is one way to support sustainability, a small business can do many more things to adopt a conscious approach towards helping the environment, advancing social responsibility, and promoting a positive brand image. Read on to find out about how small businesses in DC are practicing sustainability.
1. Maximizing educational opportunities
Small businesses can start by learning about sustainability, how it impacts the environment, and current sustainable business practices. You can enroll yourself and your employees into a program that covers these topics. For example, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility training and certification program is designed specifically for the District of Columbia Certified Business Enterprises, CBE-eligible firms, and their employees. This course teaches skills in understanding energy efficiency, renewable energy, as well as maintenance, among other topics.
2. Choosing green energy
As mentioned earlier, the U.S. government supports switching to green energy for numerous reasons. D.C. leads the way in the transition towards green energy as it's set the most ambitious goal in the country – to get 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2032. This is an ambitious goal indeed, and D.C. businesses can support this goal by moving towards renewable energy sources such as hydro, wind, and/or solar energy. Fortunately, there are several avenues for small businesses to make the shift. Solar energy provider Hoymiles works with businesses to provide an energy solution that’s both sustainable and affordable. Once the company installs the photovoltaic solar panels, businesses can easily monitor and visualize their system's energy production from a mobile device using their app. You can also check in with your office building's management and see what sustainable energy options are available for your company. 3. Partnering up
The move towards sustainability doesn’t have to be done alone. Many organizations have made the same decision, and one effective way to ensure the transition is smooth is to consider partnering up with another group. Our previous post about the B Corporation movement pointed out how it became possible for companies to use their business as a force for good and expressing social responsibilities by working together. Since B Corporation’s founding in 2006, over 3,800 companies across 150 industries have joined this community. These brands are committed to placing people and the planet before profit, thus really exemplifying what sustainability is all about. These brands, together, create an impact that would’ve been minimal if done alone.
A small business can be a sustainability advocate by promoting the best practices and best use of its resources to ensure it is in line with the local environment. There could be a campaign to transition towards sustainability, as well as identifying ‘sustainability champions’ within your organization. An advocate of sustainability means joining the collective effort to create a world where the best interests of the environment, the business owner and the consumer co-exist, in any way possible.
Since D.C. is leading our country towards a sustainable future, and it's only right that corporations, small businesses, and organizations support this movement. With consumers looking for ethical and environmentally conscious products and services, your business will do well by following in these footsteps. Try these suggestions out and be part of the positive change for a healthy planet earth.
Rita Jaime is a business consultant specializing in helping SMEs create concrete and strategic business plans and processes. She uses her writing as a platform to advocate for climate change awareness and promote green and sustainable practices - for business and for personal use! In her free time, you can usually find her in the kitchen, trying out new vegan recipes!