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Tips for implementing sustainability in your small business


Alexandros Kiousis-AdamisIn this blog, Alexandros Kiousis-Adamis, Marketing Manager at YTKO shares some ideas for how small businesses can embed sustainability and the opportunities they offer to support.

Sustainability, in all aspects of life, is becoming more and more relevant and common practice, especially in business. Modern consumers are becoming more aware of the companies they purchase from, choosing to ‘vote with their wallets’ and purchase from responsible, sustainable businesses.

If you are a small business owner or freelancer you might be thinking of ways that you can implement sustainable practices in your business model, your supply chains or general operations. We have compiled our top tips for you, from our recent Impact Experience Day with local business owner, Rebecca Prior from Prior Shop, Cabot Circus, Bristol.

Use your size to your advantage

Compared to larger businesses, small businesses have an advantage in that they are agile, can adapt very quickly and are more able to commit to regular research and test ideas. Changes can come quickly since they don’t need to be passed through all sorts of hoops, and ideas can be implemented quicker.

Check your suppliers

One of the easiest ways of implementing sustainability in your own business is checking who you chose to do business with. Put pressure on your supply chain and ask questions about how sustainable they are. It will encourage them to do more, where possible. Start a conversation about how they’re making their products. Think about how your suppliers’ choices reflect on your own business.

Train yourself and your employees on your strategy

Train your staff on your new sustainability strategy and how to talk about sustainable products. If they’re stuck, refer them to a website where the information is held. Take customer email addresses to research and get back to them if necessary. Be aware of the language that you’re using. Beware of greenwashing. Avoid the word “ethical” and instead say that you are responsible, as it’s almost impossible to trace every aspect of your business.

Become a Sustainable Impact Champion

All of this and more was discussed at our Impact Experience Day, a part of our Sustainable Impact Champion (SIC) Accreditation, which provided all Champions with the opportunity to see first hand how a retail business has become truly sustainable, as well as meet like-minded local businesses andgroup of YTKO sustainable impact champions sat round table people who are going through their SIC journey.

Small business owner and fellow creative, Vicky Takooree said “The Impact Experience at Prior Shop was a very informative and engaging session. Going forward I continue to be selective with which shops I will work with and make sure their responsible values align with mine.”

Sustainability provides a wealth of opportunities for your business, your industry sector and the environment. These range from gaining a competitive advantage, becoming a preferred supplier to showing your customers that you are an environmentally responsible business. There are ways to save money, increase turnover and attract new customers through implementing or increasing your sustainable efforts.

Find out more about our Sustainable Impact Champion Accreditation

To support you with your Sustainable Impact Champion Accreditation, YTKO has launched a Skills Bootcamp in Organisational Sustainability, a nine week funded course to help you upskill yourself in organisational sustainability in order to grow your business or develop your career as well as learn invaluable sustainability skills from experts

Find out more about about the Skills Bootcamp in Organisational Sustainability

YTKO provides free business support to start-up businesses and existing SMEs across Bristol and the West of England. Whether you have an idea for a business, are a sole trader or established company and want to grow, YTKO can help you with workshops to build skills and knowledge, 1:1 mentoring and e-learning. We can help with business planning and strategy, sustainability, marketing, finance and so much more. YTKO is proud to be helping businesses across the region to implement real, achievable sustainable strategies and achieve Net Zero goals. If you’d like help, contact or to find out more visit


To access further support and resources for your organisation’s journey to net zero, take a look at the Climate Action Programme.

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