Small Businesses' Sustainability Efforts Hampered by Costs
Nearly one-third work with green vendors, one-quarter purchase Energy Star appliances and 20 percent run a paper-free office, but find larger initiatives too expensive, according to Manta's survey.Although more than half (53 percent) of small-business owners do not view climate change as a serious threat, the majority still embrace eco-friendly practices, according to a Manta survey of 1,174 small-business owners. The survey found 93 percent of owners believe sustainability is important to their business. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of owners say they try to reuse or donate items and 58 percent recycle. However, high cost was cited as the top barrier to being more sustainable (39 percent), closely followed by the 38 percent who said it's hard to measure. Thirteen percent said sustainability is not a business priority. "While smaller sustainability practices like recycling are fairly cost-efficient and simple, implementing larger eco-friendly measures like smart meters, energy-efficient equipment or solar panels are still expensive and complex," John Swanciger, CEO of Manta, told eWEEK. "However, business owners should weigh the larger up-front costs with the long-term potential savings. By carefully measuring potential savings and researching available tax breaks, owners may find that some of these bigger initiatives may be more affordable than originally thought."
He explained that while Manta doesn't have any specific data on whether small businesses are offering recycling and waste management partnerships to their customers, if those companies prioritize sustainability practices, small-business owners could look for vendors that are embracing eco-friendly practices.