As an entrepreneur, aspiring entrepreneur, or small business owner you surely are aware of how important sustainability, operating in an environmentally friendly manner, and keeping up to date on these issues are. The reality, however, is that between juggling the many demands and requirements of any small business owner, sustainability investment decisions may be one of those items relegated to the back burner. Even more frustrating, it may appear that adopting certain sustainability practices are either not worth the effort and investment for a small business, sustainability initiatives might not attract customers, or add value to the bottom-line. Although this is certainly for some specific sustainability projects and ideas, that is no reason that you should ignore this topic or idea.
Sustainability, and operating in an environmental sustainable manner, can be good for the environment, and good for your business.
When discussing and analyzing this topic from the perspective of a CPA, two ideas that I always try to consider are the cost/benefit aspect of certain projects, and whether or not the idea helps improve core business operations. The good news is that there are a number of options for entrepreneurs to choose from when approaching sustainability and businesses. Additionally, and arguably the most important point of this conversation is that many of the options and ideas do not require large investments. Like many new ideas or projects, investing incrementally in these ideas provides you an opportunity to experiment with these news ideas while seeing how they benefit your business.
Let's take a look at a few ways that entrepreneurs, large or small, can link sustainability into businesses in a way that is good for the environment, and good for the bottom line.
1. Savings on your energy bill
You and I have both seen the commercials and other information about energy efficient light bulbs, appliances, and other products, but these same items can benefit your business. Something as simple as installing LED bulbs, replacing windows over time, upgrading your heating and cooling system, or considering purchasing a hybrid vehicle for business use can all reduce costs starting immediately.
2. Take advantage of tax incentives
Sustainability is a big business -- there are tax incentives and credits that can directly reduce your tax liability starting in the current tax year, while also improving your business brand. Not every business or entrepreneur will be able to leverage these tax options, but if there is one that applies to your organization it makes perfect sense to take advantage of these options.
3. Build your brand
Sustainability and sustainable business are hot topics, including the proliferation of benefit corporations (B-Corps) that integrate non-financial topics into the financial reporting process. In addition to the tangible environmental and financial benefits that result directly from adopting sustainability ideas, there is a clear brand benefit from doing so. Especially among Millennials and Gen-Z customers, both current and potential future customers, this is a topic that cannot be ignored.
Sustainability may seem like a topic or idea that is out of reach or that does not apply for your business, but that could not be further from the truth. Analyzing your business, appraising what types of sustainability projects can work for your business, and implementing these projects over time represent solid business tactics for these ideas or any other business ideas. Taking this approach, including both operational and tax oriented ideas, can help your improve the environment, and your bottom line