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Perceived Challenges

You might’ve heard a few things about sustainability initiatives that make you nervous to explore making your business practices more sustainable. Here are some of the perceived challenges of sustainable business practices and the reality of why these are good business decisions to make.

“I’ve heard sustainable products are really expensive and will cut into our profit margin.”

Like all products on the market, environmentally preferred products exist across a cost spectrum. Some products do have a higher up-front cost relative to non-environmentally preferred alternatives. However, it is important to consider the cost of a product over its lifetime rather than the up-front cost alone when comparing item prices as some environmentally preferred items have a larger up-front investment but can save money over a longer time span. For example, a school in Minnesota estimated a cost savings of $23,000 over three (3) years by switching from disposable to reusable food ware. You should also consider the longevity of a purchase and whether that item may be repaired instead of replaced. Items that are more durable and that can be repaired rather than replaced are both environmentally preferred and can save money over the long run.

“Sustainability is complicated and our staff don’t have time to think about it.”

These resources are intended to lay the groundwork necessary to implement sustainable changes in your business today. In the long-run, sustainability should be incorporated into business logistics rather than something additional or an added burden. Considerations of environmental sustainability are also good business strategies, often positively affecting the bottom line and raising consumer satisfaction.

“My business isn’t known for the environment or sustainability. Guests will be confused if we start marketing these principles.”

Many surveys and studies show that guests prefer brands and companies with sustainable practices. While it isn’t necessary to completely pivot your marketing, research indicates that most guests react positively to companies shifting to environmentally preferred practices.

“It’s difficult to figure out the logistics behind more sustainable practices like recycling or composting.”

If you’re new to these practices, it will take some extra work to find appropriate vendors, learn about local options for responsible waste management, and introduce these practices to your staff and guests. In addition to these resources, it may be helpful to seek assistance from other businesses or local officials to better understand your options for getting started.

This Page Last Updated: November 30, 2020 at 3:40 PM