Going green can help small retailers stand out from competitors, but few seem to be focusing on becoming more environmentally friendly.
An MIT Sloan Management Review study released last year found that while most big retail chains already have green initiatives in place, only 9 percent of businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees haveembraced sustainability as a core value.
That small percentage may reflect two of the major challenges small retailers face: their landlord and their budget. When you don’t own your store and don’t have a lot to spend, it’s hard to make expensive changes that could bring big energy savings, such as adding insulation or installing skylights.
But going green doesn’t necessarily have to be costly. Here are 12 easy steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and cut waste:
1. Switch to energy-efficient lighting. You may be able to reap some cost savings and reduce energy use by trading incandescent or older fluorescent light bulbs for newer light-emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent (CFL) lights, says Chris Lynch, director of the Business Environmental Program at the University of Nevada-Reno. “If you have five years left on your lease, the savings could pay for the project before the lease ends.”