How microbusinesses take the first steps toward sustainability

Helping the environment can open up the possibility of more revenue, says Ben Law, VP and head of UK and Ireland at GoDaddy

Following COP26 and in the lead up to COP27, awareness of environmental issues continues to grow as governments, brands and activists lead more and more public campaigns.

This is impacting consumer purchasing habits, including where they shop and how much they are willing to spend. It is therefore vital everyone, from large organisations to smaller microbusinesses, improves their sustainability practices.

This shift towards addressing the urgent challenge of climate change has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, especially commerce. Shopping ‘with a conscience’ from more sustainable and ethical brands remains a priority for consumers in spite of the cost of living crisis.

Recent research by GoDaddy revealed that 58 per cent are more likely to shop with a small business if it has strong sustainability credentials, while 50 per cent have already made a conscious effort to shop with small, sustainable businesses over the past year.  

>See also: Your customers care about sustainability: here’s how your business can too

GoDaddy aims to support microbusinesses to embed sustainability into their operations and drive growth. We also recognise that the entrepreneurial journey isn’t the same for everyone, however when speaking to microbusiness owners there are a few challenges they have encountered when it comes to sustainability.

The first challenge is that they rarely have the right expertise when it comes to sustainable business practices, so developing a strategy to achieve this can be overwhelming.

The second is financing. Switching to environmentally friendly suppliers can impact revenue. Sustainable packaging can be more costly than alternatives and microbusiness owners have expressed concerns that by increasing prices they risk losing customers to cheaper competitors.

>See also: The importance of custom and sustainable packaging when growing your brand

The final barrier is that many businesses, especially microbusinesses, operate out of spaces that are not under their control. For example, builders and handymen operate in the workplaces of their clients whereas sole traders may run their business in a shared office space.

But while some microbusinesses may be daunted by the prospect of going greener, they should consider the long-term benefits it brings. Thirty per cent of consumers say they plan to shop exclusively with sustainable businesses in the future, so investment now could mean increased customers and profits later.

Small business owners are often competing with large businesses that have more suppliers, cheaper products, and greater funding. Tapping into sustainable practices provides a unique opportunity for these smaller businesses to stand out against larger competitors. Our research shows that 42 per cent of consumers said they are more likely to shop with a small retailer over a larger cheaper competitor if it has strong sustainability credentials.

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

At GoDaddy, we are focused on empowering entrepreneurs everywhere and making opportunities more inclusive for microbusiness owners. Fundamentally, we aim to change the way people around the world work and live for the better, and over the years as our customers and their needs have evolved, we have also moved with the changes.

That is why we are proud to support a whole host of impressive entrepreneurs who are helping to pave the way for a more sustainable future.

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 has been rolled out to our two million small business customers in the UK to futureproof enterprises and work towards a more sustainable, plastic-free world.

By incorporating sustainability, small businesses are reducing their environmental impact, operating their business ethically and managing risk appropriately. Not only are they helping the environment and our planet but opening themselves up to the possibility of more customers and more revenue.

At GoDaddy we are privileged to have a global reach, and with that reach comes global responsibility. Like many of our customers, we’re also working towards a more sustainable future. We are committed to reducing our scope 1 and 2 green house gas emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2025, and are actively working on a longer-term goal.

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Ben Law

Ben Law is head of UK and Ireland, GoDaddy