5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Are Vital for Our Planet

April 11, 2024 4 min read

5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Are Vital for Our Planet

In a world grappling with environmental crises, the significance of small businesses in fostering sustainability cannot be overstated. These humble operations, often overshadowed by corporate giants, wield a powerful advantage in their capacity to champion eco-friendly practices. From reducing carbon footprints to promoting local economies, small businesses emerge as unsung heroes in the fight for a greener future.

Here's why their role is paramount and how it benefits the planet:

Local Roots, Global Impact

Small businesses operate within communities, sourcing materials locally and engaging with nearby customers. This means that for small businesses, sustainability is built inUnlike large corporations that often rely on global supply chains, local businesses contribute to minimizing transportation emissions and fostering a sense of environmental stewardship within their neighborhoods. 

1. Fewer Emissions and Less Waste

Because they source more locally and they are not shipping in high volume all over the world, small businesses produce far less carbon emissions than a large chain or online store. Carbon emissions are the largest contributor to climate change, so this amounts for a lot when considering the planet at large. 

Small, independent businesses typically consume fewer resources and generate less waste per unit of sales compared to larger competitors. In large scale manufacturing, there is more product waste because it can be very time consuming to work through all of the remnant pieces. Because they are not producing in such large volumes and do not have to produce as quickly to meet demand, smaller companies can afford to use as much of their material as possible. This generates far less scrap material, which can add up to a lot of waste avoided. For companies that use synthetic materials such as polyester, this waste could last up to 200 years.

That’s why in our production practices, we design each product to work together to maximize the use of our fabric and wool. Each stage of our production process has a plan for what to do with the remnant pieces - larger yields might be used for crib size products, the yields from that are used for pillows, and then even smaller yields are cut into fabric strips that are used in packaging our products.
With what little scraps remain, we first donate to local museums and schools to use for crafts, and then recycle or compost the rest. Because we use all natural materials - cotton and wool - our products can eventually decompose at the end of their lifespan. 

2. Sustainable Practices as Standard

Many small businesses adopt eco-conscious practices as part of their ethos, rather than mere marketing strategies. Whether it's using renewable energy, implementing waste reduction measures, or opting for biodegradable packaging, these businesses prioritize sustainability at every turn. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Management suggests that small businesses are more adaptable and responsive to environmental concerns due to their agility and direct connection to their operations.

3. Nurturing Innovation and Creativity

Small businesses often serve as incubators for innovative solutions to environmental challenges. With fewer bureaucratic layers and a greater sense of autonomy, entrepreneurs are empowered to experiment with eco-friendly technologies and practices. In a larger organization, team members may not get their ideas heard, but in a small business, there is more opportunity for everyone to voice their thoughts, regardless of position or background. This fosters more creative thinking, innovation, and the volume of ideas coming to the table. 

4. Building Resilient Communities

Small businesses form the backbone of vibrant local economies, fostering resilience in the face of global environmental uncertainties. By supporting small enterprises, consumers contribute to the diversification and sustainability of their communities. Moreover, studies indicate that money spent at local businesses circulates within the community, amplifying economic benefits and reducing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transactions. One study found that the local retailers return a total of 52% of their revenue to the local economy, compared to just 14% for the national chain retailers. 

It’s been found that compared to large chain stores, independent retailers can also produce twice as many job opportunities for the same amount of revenue. This means they can supply more jobs for locals, creating a tighter knit community and reducing commuting emissions. 

5. Amplifying Consumer Consciousness

Small businesses often have a closer relationship with their customers, enabling them to educate and inspire consumer behavior towards sustainability. 

Consumers are striving more and more to be responsible citizens of the world, and they expect the same from corporations. So when it comes to purchasing, they are doing increasingly more research - like checking labels before buying, or looking on websites for more information on business practices.

In a study on consumer decisions, among the 66% of global respondents willing to pay more, most are influenced by key sustainability factors such as a product being made from fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients (69%), a company being environmentally friendly (58%), and company being known for its commitment to social value (56%).

Through transparent supply chains and ethical business practices, these enterprises empower consumers to make environmentally conscious choices. This is especially true when a business obtains a certification that audits these requirements, such as GOTS or OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100. Research suggests that consumers are increasingly inclined to support businesses that align with their values, including environmental responsibility. So naturally, the more sustainable small businesses that exist, the more accessible it becomes for consumers to make environmentally conscious purchases. 

Small Businesses Matter, Locally and Globally

The significance of small businesses in promoting environmental sustainability cannot be overstated. Through their localized operations, commitment to sustainable practices, and role as catalysts for innovation, these enterprises offer a blueprint for a more eco-conscious future.

By supporting small businesses like Holy Lamb Organics, consumers not only contribute to the health of their communities but also play a vital role in preserving the planet for future generations. It's time to recognize and celebrate the invaluable role of small businesses in creating a more sustainable world.

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