There is some work to be done to find sustainable partners for your business. There is an entire and complex system that is largely beyond control, so scrutiny of any partners is necessary. Understanding the circular economy and checking certifications are just two examples.
Google What You are Looking For
For the most basic research and to get off to a good start, it helps to just use Google. Many inline services, such as packaging, will proudly display their sustainability commitment on their websites. Some also have a detailed description of how they link into a sustainable chain. For example, Googling “folding carton manufacturers near me” will return reliable services such as Burd Fletcher, who operate with sustainability in mind for their packaging customers.
Focus on a Circular Economy
When you run a business, you are part of a chain that relies on each other. The system of circular economy relates to production and consumption, and every step of the cycle should be focused on reducing waste or enhancing sustainability practices. Creating or using products that can be used over and over is an example. This is in stark contrast to the outdated model of make, use, and dispose that returns no reusable value to any of the products in the cycle.
Find Sustainable Partners with Company Culture
Company culture is something of a buzzword these days, and it can help assess what a business is all about. Alongside mission statements, company policies are often included on websites or are easily found elsewhere. If a company you wish to use actively engages in sustainable practices such as biodiversity methods, they will let you know. Yet consider that in the UK, for example, only a third of businesses have an active sustainability plan or green policy.
Look for Relevant Certifications
As mentioned, any business that actively considers the environment and helps sustainability efforts will make it public knowledge. However, there are some that seek to take advantage of the consumer thirst for more sustainable practices. Simply stating they operate in a sustainable way isn’t good enough, and more scrutiny is needed. For example, it helps to check specifically recognized certifications such as LEED labels, ISO 4001, and ISO 5000:2011 certifications.
Request Necessary Metrics and Data
Looking for the necessary certifications is an effective way to find the partners you need. But again, these can be faked or lied about to garner more business. And this means you will be potentially contributing to more waste, not helping. Any company that actively engages in sustainable practices will be willing to provide data and metrics upon request, as data is needed to ensure sustainability as a whole. Avoid them if they cannot provide the data you ask for.
Just Googling what you’re looking for can help you find sustainable partners. However, care must be taken to analyze company culture and ensure a partner is doing what they say. Additionally, it helps to look for certifications and ask for data and metrics relating to sustainability practices.