Many small-business owners are choosing to reduce the carbon footprints of their organisations simply because it feels like the right thing to do. However, there are lots of other reasons why it’s a savvy business decision, including the potential to lower your operating costs and increase consumer happiness, as well as revenue.
In fact, about 66% of people are willing to pay more for your products if they’re sustainable, according to a Nielson survey. If your audience is younger, they’re actually 72% more likely to pay more if they believe your brand is dedicated to having a positive societal and environmental impact. In other words, going green is something that can not only make you feel good about your business, but will make others feel good about you as well.
What’s a Carbon Footprint?
Greenhouse gasses can be described as any gaseous compound in the atmosphere that can absorb infrared radiation. Although there are many, some of which occur naturally, the most-notable is carbon dioxide, which is produced by people in a lot of different ways. When these build up, they trap heat in the atmosphere, and lead to what we call the “greenhouse effect.” They warm up the planet (global warming) and lead to all sorts of issues, from raising the levels of the oceans, to destroying ecosystems and harming wildlife, and have an impact on our health, as well as natural resources.
Your pop-up shop’s carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide your business puts out into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal) for things like heating, transportation, and electricity, as well as the carbon dioxide produced in the manufacture and transportation of goods shipped to you and in the materials you use to operate your business.
How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Pop-Up Shop
Virtually every decision you make has the potential to increase or decrease the carbon footprint of you pop-up shop, from the hand soap you put in the washroom through the bags and receipts you send away with your customers.
Purchase Local: Transporting goods is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse emissions. Whenever possible, purchase things from local vendors.
Make Recycling Easy: Create a company policy on recycling and provide employees and customers with clearly-marked receptacles for recyclable goods. A single contaminated item can ruin an entire batch of recyclable materials, so if you find people aren’t using the bins correctly, you may offer several or switch to collecting your biggest recyclable material, be it paper from the office or aluminium by the vending machines.
Encourage the Use of Reusable Totes: While plastic bag use has gone down drastically, many shops have switched to paper. This may be better for the environment overall because paper breaks down, but it’s not the best solution. See if you can encourage more people to use reusable totes by offering a discount for those who bring in your store-brand totes with them when they shop.
Barter/ Trade/ Freecycle: The longer you run your business, the more “stuff” you’ll collect. From signs to displays to equipment and more. Find other business you can swap with when you want to freshen up, as you launch, and as you close your pop-up shop. At the very least, you’ll have less to store until the next time, and at best, you’ll keep it out of the landfill. Plus, you’ll probably save some cash by reusing some of the stuff other pop-up shops and retail outlets have used.
Go Digital: Reducing your waste is easier than you’d think. Start small, like by cutting back on paper used to print reports or by asking customers if they want a receipt emailed to them instead of printed if your POS system allows.
Minimize Trips: Plan deliveries and trips in a way that minimizes driving time.
Carpool/ Bike: Create a plan for employees that rewards them for traveling in a way that reduces emissions, such as by carpooling, riding a bike, or walking to work.
Consider Alternative Energy: Find out if wind or solar power is a viable option for part of your operations. Although you probably can’t install it in your pop-up shop, you may be able to use it in a main office or wherever your manufacture goods. You can also explore which vendors are using alternative energy sources, and seek them out as part of an overall plan to reduce your footprint.
Light’s Out: Install timers or motion sensors on electrical items that aren’t in use or needed all the time.
Mind the Heat: Particularly in the chilly months, it’s easy to crank up the thermostat, but remember, most of your customers are coming in with their winter coats on. They won’t need much added warmth, and if it’s too hot, they’ll leave quickly. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure your employees are comfortable as well, but it may be more effective to keep small space heaters by those who don’t move around the shop much.
Packaging: How you package the goods you sell matters. Consider using recycled materials, reusable materials, or just cutting back on how much packaging you use.
Ready to Pop Up?
This isn’t by any means a definitive list of things you can do. In fact, you’ll probably come up with some additional fabulous ideas if you have a brainstorm session with your staff, which will get their buy-in when you start implementing new policies as well. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by searching for your ideal pop-up shop venue online. Whether you need a short-term space for retail, restaurant, social awareness, or other commercial uses, you’ll find just the right place here on Popertee. If you’ve got a place you’d like to rent out, you can also list your space free.