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Why the UK’s microbusinesses can catalyse positive change on environmental sustainability

Written by Ben Law on Tuesday, 12 October 2021. Posted in Insight, Analysis

Microbusinesses make up over 96% of the UK’s businesses and are in a remarkable position to influence UK consumers and bigger brands, too.

Why the UK’s microbusinesses can catalyse positive change on environmental sustainability

Microbusinesses make up over 96% of the UK’s businesses and are in a remarkable position to influence UK consumers and bigger brands, too. They are already harnessing this to facilitate action on climate change at a national level, but more can be done to lead the charge. As consumer attitudes change and the UK aims to build back better post-pandemic, sustainability is playing a more integral part in how micro-businesses operate than ever before. 

It’s no secret that consumers are increasingly looking to support and invest in businesses that are committed to a sustainable future. Recent research shows that as many as 83% of people say they would stop or might stop buying from a brand which uses unsustainable packaging, while nearly 50% are willing to pay a premium to do business with environmentally friendly brands.

By embracing environmental sustainability, small businesses aren’t just helping the environment but opening themselves up to more customers, and ultimately more revenue. 

As expectations around corporate responsibility rise, and the importance of transparency becomes a necessity for businesses of all sizes, micro-businesses are in a unique position to embed sustainable practices from the outset.

Ambitious goals and good intentions are no longer enough, instead companies need to be taking actionable steps to becoming more sustainable. One entrepreneur helping small businesses take these first steps is Hannah Mills MBE, the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time. 

Having won gold at Tokyo 2020, Hannah has now turned her attention to her other passion – The Big Plastic Pledge. Hannah launched the initiative to eradicate single-use plastics in sport through simple and easy-to-deploy solutions. 

What started as a sport-specific initiative is now making waves amongst small business owners. We at GoDaddy, are proud to have partnered with Hannah to create and launch a micro-business toolkit that helps empower entrepreneurs to embrace sustainable practices. It is now being rolled out to our two million small business customers in the UK.

For a micro-business, the sustainability landscape can feel overwhelming and be a minefield to navigate. However, there are simple steps that can be taken to futureproof enterprises and catalyse wider positive change:

  1. Avoid using plastic in your packaging materials 
  2. Packaging accounts for over 40% of total plastic usage, so seeking out alternatives to plastic packaging can help make a big difference. 
  3. Encourage suppliers to find alternatives to single use plastics
  4. If your suppliers still use plastic packaging, educate them about the harm it causes and encourage them to use alternatives. Consider switching suppliers if they still insist on sticking with plastic.
  5. Organise community clean ups 
  6. Small businesses are an integral part of the local community and can be a powerful force for change when it comes to encouraging group behaviour. Organising a clean-up will not only help improve the local environment, it’s also an excellent way to show people just how much plastic waste we create and why we so desperately need to eliminate single use plastic.
  7. Avoid disposable cups, food containers and cutlery 
  8. Provide reusable coffee cups, metal food containers and cutlery for your employees. They can use these to replace disposable containers. 
  9. Make informed choices 
  10. The Big Plastic Pledge is about understanding the impact of individual choices and making more educated ones when possible. Understand the recycling process in your area and how to dispose of products correctly. Where appropriate, make sure you offer appropriate recycling facilities to colleagues and customers. If you can, create your own compost bin you can use for suitable items. 

Working towards a more sustainable, plastic-free world, is a challenge that faces businesses of all sizes. Micro businesses are already taking steps in the right direction, by making small changes in the way they operate day-to-day they have the opportunity to catalyse positive change at a macro level, too. 

About the Author

Ben Law

Ben Law

Ben is currently head of GoDaddy UK. Ben is a proven leader with experience and skills honed at Sony, PlayStation, and IG. Ben has broad marketing and leadership experience including global and regional strategy development, brand management, sponsorship, and integrated communications.

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