Sustainability is at the forefront of global consciousness right now. With climate change and global warming increasingly to the fore, it is incumbent on companies to ensure that they embrace sustainability wherever they can.
Choose local ingredients
Ingredients are one of the best places to start when starting an online baking business.
The carbon footprint of transporting ingredients to your bakery plays a central role, both in terms of its impact on the environment and in convincing customers that your online bakery lives up to its green credentials.
Use local ingredients whenever possible. Build relationships with local suppliers – especially small independents – to find ingredients closest to your bakery.
It is not always possible to achieve this, of course. You already know that some ingredients can only be found in distant countries, so finding local alternatives can be tricky. But do all the trading you can – not only is it better for the environment, but it also helps the local economy, strengthening your position as an independent bakery.
Switch to sustainable packaging
Packaging is one of the biggest sustainability issues for online businesses, including bakeries. It is designed to be discarded, single use materials that can only be used once.
But as environmentalism is brought to the forefront of public consciousness, there are more sustainable alternatives to traditional packaging. There are a myriad of recyclable materials that can be used to safely transport your baked goods.
But beyond recyclable cardboard and so on, companies have also produced packaging that biodegrades.
Packaging peanuts, for example, are often made from starch-based packaging peanuts that you can either let decompose in running water or eat. Even the clear plastic, used to display products, can now be replaced with transparent materials that gradually break down after use in your compost pile.
With so many different types of durable materials available to you, there is no reason why you should adopt them for your online bakery. Shop around and ask for free samples to make sure you find the right material to suit your products.
Embrace sustainability out loud
In 2020, sustainable online bakeries will be far above their less environmentally friendly competitors. Consumers today expect brands in all industries to embrace sustainability and the environment. Those who don’t will fail to retain the next generation of environmentally conscious consumers.
Take inspiration from other sustainable businesses and see how you can incorporate eco-friendly business practices into your marketing. For example, many brands implement a social responsibility policy that actively contributes to environmental efforts.
It doesn’t have to be complex either. For example, your online bakery might give customers the option to round their orders to the nearest dollar, with the excess going to a carbon offset program or environmental charity.
But beyond truly embracing sustainability in your online bakery, you also need to make your environmental commitments visible to your customers.
Shout for your ecological references and integrate them into the branding of your bakery.
Rather than being an online snack service with a sustainability policy, be a sustainable online snack service – make it essential for your USP (Unique Selling Point).
If you are starting your own independent online bakery business and want to embrace sustainability, the tips above should give you a solid foundation. But it is important to take into account each step of your professional journey: is this the most sustainable way to achieve it?
Kayleigh Alexandra is a member of MicroStartups, a business community that celebrates inspiring startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Whether you are a solopreneur or a startup entering the business world, we are here to help. For the latest news, inspiring stories and how-to tips, follow them on Twitter @getmicrostarted.