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3 Steps for SMEs to Better Understand and Act on their Sustainability Goals

There are a significant number of reasons why small businesses are looking to become more sustainable. Supply chain accessibility, value proposition, customer engagement, preserving the bottom line, and protecting the planet are all driving businesses to focus on sustainability. 


“Businesses of all sizes will need to contribute to decarbonization efforts by reducing behaviors harmful to the environment, engaging in sustainable practices, and supporting climate impact projects. As large organizations look to decarbonize their supply chains, SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) can increase their value proposition by joining the green economy.”

 – World Trade Organization


As a small business ourselves, we know that we can influence positive change, but at times it is difficult to know where to start. First, we must understand our footprint so that we can prioritize our actions. 

1. Calculate your carbon footprint:

    • Your location can impact your ability to access renewable energy, cost of living, and how empowered you are to make significant change.

    • Calculate your carbon footprint by providing details related to your facilities. For some, these facilities may include the businesses, office buildings, and homes of your remote workforce. 

    • Provide details on employee commuting behavior and vehicles driven for business purposes. 

    • Lastly, input your business’s annual expenditures in the various categories to estimate annual emissions related to acquisition of goods and contracting of services. 

2. Knowledge is power:

    • Now that you know your annual estimated emissions, you hold the power to address the areas where you are emitting the most greenhouse gasses.

    • Your facilities and utilities may be your biggest contributor, therefore, you may want to have a discussion with your landlord or facility manager on how to transition to more renewable resources. Maybe that means lowering your energy usage in your own home. Connect with your local neighbors and community officials to understand ways to lower emissions and costs. 

a person holding onto a metal object on a train

    Credit: Pradamas Gifarry on Unsplash

    • If emissions coming from your transportation requirements are high, you may want to consider sourcing your ingredients locally. Are there a way you can leverage public transit or combine your transportation needs with another business? 

    • Consider encouraging and rewarding your employees and customers to opt for sustainable transportation solutions when possible. Getting everyone from your customers to employees involved will set up the business for success, while also creating space for community.

    • Packaging can influence your footprint, as well as your costs. Businesses are opting for less packaging and materials that can be recycled indefinitely. You can build the packaging into your product costs and inform your customers with real, impactful data on how the minimal cost has maximum results. 

    • Ask your vendors and partners what their sustainability goals are and how they plan on achieving them. Your entire supply chain impacts your footprint, therefore, open the conversation for learning and accountability. 

3. Support climate impact projects and engage your customers:

    • Tradewater is the leading climate impact project developer tackling climate change. Tradewater focuses on the most potent greenhouse gases like refrigerants, halons, and methane, which if leaked into the atmosphere, significantly accelerate global warming. 

    • By offsetting your emissions with Tradewater and implementing emission reduction strategies, you are supporting international climate projects that can prevent catastrophic climate change. Learn more!

    • Be transparent and proud of your climate journey. Businesses contributing to climate solutions are experiencing a unique value proposition, growth, customer engagement, and trust by aligning their organizations with environmental and social values. Pursuing progress, not perfection, is celebrated throughout the community. 

    • Get your customers involved! Consumers are looking for opportunities to actively engage with the brands they support. Whether they get an opportunity to “tip the planet” at checkout, get a discount if they choose a more sustainable option, or simply share their support of quality products that impact the planet, customers are loyal to brands that emulate their values. 

    • Celebrate your employees implementing the work that is driving long-lasting change. 88% of the majority workforce say their job is more fulfilling when employers provide opportunities to make a positive impact, so enjoy that recognition and employee retention. 

Tradewater and The Green Marketing Academy are partnering to amplify the positive impact that small businesses have on the planet – together. We do represent 90% of the business population, which gives us a lot of power and accountability. Sustainable business practices support our mission to protect, strengthen, and grow the for-profit community in a way that is accessible and impactful. Reach out to Jenny Morgan, Tradewater’s Market Development Manager, and Michelle Miller, Founder of The Green Marketing Academy, if there is anything we can do to support you. 

Our business, our purpose, and our planet.

Jenny Morgan is the Market Development Manager at Tradewater, a mission-based project developer and B Corp that is focused on destroying non-CO2 to prevent catastrophic climate change. Jenny is on the mission to encourage all people and all organizations to become active in the climate impact movement – it will take us all!