Eco Entrepreneur,
Eco Merchant

Entrepreneurs and leaders of the transition

Yesterday, we presented the Eco Worker. Today, we’re tackling their employer: the Eco Entrepreneur, the Eco Company and the Eco Merchant. Undoubtedly, some companies are responsible for overconsumption issues since they’re the ones providing consumer products. Some would say that companies only meet the needs of consumers. We believe that, much like the chicken or the egg, it’s a useless debate. Let’s stop playing the blame game and start finding solutions!

Instead, let’s ask the following questions to try and imagine how the Eco Entrepreneur, Eco Company and Eco Merchant can contribute to the ecological transition:

  • Can an eco-friendly business model be profitable?
  • Can small and medium-sized businesses contribute to the transition?
  • Is it possible to make sustainable choices regarding investors and investments?

  • How can the Eco Worker help the Eco Entrepreneur, Eco Merchant and Eco Company thrive, and vice-versa?

Being environmentally friendly: an efficient business model?

We all know that we need to change our consumption habits to undergo an ecological transition necessary for our collective well-being. Similarly, a company that wants to thrive in the next few years also knows that it needs to adapt.

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Many Quebeckers are already aware of that. Many of us are trying to find solutions that not only reflect our values, but also reduce our sense of guilt caused by bad consumption habits. The race is on! The Eco Entrepreneur who will take the lead right now will be recognized as a leader and build a loyal customer and client base.

Not only will an environmentally friendly business model attract a customer and client base looking for sustainable solutions, but it will also attract partners who share those values. A network of partners strongly solidifies the foundation of your business, no matter its size. Soon, not only will a sustainable entrepreneurship attract partners, but not having a business model that takes into account environmental issues could make businesses lose clients and partners.

Did you know that some companies and institutions require their suppliers to have specific certifications or even a sustainable procurement policy? These types of requests, whether they’re made by private, public or individual clients, will become increasingly common. Don’t wait until you’re backed into a corner before undergoing these changes; start being proactive as of right now!

As part of your sustainable business model, you can:

  • Review the life cycle of your products;

  • Start developing an eco-design approach;

  • Integrate industrial symbiosis and other circular economy practices;

  • Turn your vehicle fleet into an electric fleet;

  • Reduce your dependence on hydrocarbons.

Is it possible to be an Eco Entrepreneur with a low budget?

Not every business or company has the means to reform its practices and business model. We’re certainly not asking them to do that! Like the Eco Consumer and the Eco Citizen, the Eco Entrepreneur can evolve one step at a time. Some steps are less costly than others. For example:

  • Recycling and recovering organic waste is a good starting point to reduce your environmental impact. Contact your municipality to find out if you can benefit from their municipal waste collection services!

  • Managing your other waste. Try giving away items and furniture you no longer need, send your hazardous waste, like electronics and batteries, to the proper places, etc.

  • Stop providing disposable bags to your customers;

  • Greening your business’ grounds;

  • Fixing some energy efficiency elements of your building;

Like the Eco Consumer, the Eco Entrepreneur can be misled by greenwashing, a practice where you’re made to believe that a product or service is sustainable, when it is not. If you decide to have more eco-friendly practices, be careful not to fall into this kind of trap. For example, would you like to offer eco-friendly containers and packaging? Don’t listen to suppliers who might try to sell you so-called “recyclable” or “compostable” products that are in fact impossible to recover by current facilities.

To avoid making changes that make you waste money and energy, call on experts that can help guide you. You could even receive funding to help your initiatives! For more information, consult the Fonds Écoleader!

Does your company want to offer products or services that reduce waste at source (reuse, repair, reduction, etc.)? Submit your project to Fonds Moins c’est +, a crowdfunding platform on which RECYC-QUÉBEC may increase sums by 50%, up to $25 000.

Band together to better reduce

It can be more challenging for small businesses to find the resources to develop sustainable practices. Can you find some allies? Other businesses and organizations near you might share your values. Check with them to see if you can share resources:

  • Sharing organic waste management

  • Sharing delivery services and fleets;

  • Sharing expertise, services, etc.

Synergies are a good example of businesses and organizations sharing expertise and services. Most regions in Quebec have organizations responsible for setting up regional synergy programmes. Find the organization or agency that has this mandate near you!

Investments and investors supporting the transition

Your company is part of a large economic system. Are you generating enough profit to make investments? If so, make sure to invest in a sustainable way! You should invest some of your profits in your own transition efforts as well as in your community! By supporting transition projects and organizations in your neighbourhood or region, you’ll once again present yourself as a sustainable business and will draw the attention of partners, customers and clients. Among other things, you could:

  • Build a community garden;

  • Organize cleanups;

  • Set up projects to fight food waste, to share expertise or services, etc.

If you’re looking for investors, make sure to choose some that will know how to support your sustainable business model. You don’t want to struggle to get all your sustainable strategic choices and business expenditures approved by investors who only care about your profits—you could deal with a lot of resistance and frustrations!

Help the Eco Worker be fulfilled at your company or organization

The Eco Entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily have to change their business model to make their practices greener. They can also focus on human resources and give them the opportunity to utilize the Eco sapiens in them! There are two ways to do this. In both cases, always listen to their needs; you could improve your business’ environmental impact as well as your employees’ quality of work!

First, give your employees the chance to get involved in environmental projects at work. If they suggest setting up new source sorting techniques, banning disposable products or implementing environmental practices or advice in their work, encourage them and give them access to whatever they need to accomplish their projects!

You can also encourage your employees’ individual gestures. Give social benefits to employees who adopt eco-friendly practices: pay a part of their public transit fare, offer some compensation for bike repairs to employees who cycle to work, or encourage carpooling! Have flexible schedules to allow your employees to use the alternative mode of transportation that suits them best.

The pandemic has proved that working from home can be just as efficient as working in an office. Many employees have discovered that it allows them to find more time to take care of their home, family and diet, and even to volunteer. If it’s possible for you, offer your employees the chance to work remotely if they want to. Providing such possibilities will help you attract talent and ensure better employee retention!

The Eco sapiens’ 8 personalities

Discover one each day of the 2021 QWRW