Updated: May 30
The good news? Sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand. In fact, integrating sustainable practices into a business can not only reduce your ecological footprint but also improve your brand image, attract eco-conscious customers, and save you money in the long run. The bad news: it requires added work and research that most businesses are already limited on. Luckily, we’ve reached out to a few local businesses that have been making strides in their industries while keeping sustainability top of mind and have gotten their insights to share with you.
EATABLE founders, Charlene and Vince Li founded their business of artisanal, alcohol-infused (non-alcoholic) popcorn from a lack of options in the market. They were in search of a product free from artificial flavours and colours but also didn’t compromise on taste and presentation. EATABLE knew from the very beginning that the key to success was focusing on natural ingredients that were locally sourced.
To align with this vision, they are proudly certified Plastic Neutral - which means for every bag sold, one is removed from the environment. 1% of revenues are also donated to Second Harvest, one of Canada’s largest food rescue initiatives with a mandate to minimize food waste and redirect excess food within the community. In 2022 alone, being in business then for only 3 years, EATABLE removed more than 10,000 plastic bottles from our oceans and kept them out of landfills by upcycling them through their impact project with rePurpose Global.
“I believe that businesses want to reduce their environmental impact to the best of their ability. However, a big barrier tends to be the higher costs of sustainable materials and inputs within the supply chain, and the pressures of rising costs sometimes make those sustainable solutions cost-prohibitive,” comments Charlene. She hopes to see more support from governments to incentivize companies to make more sustainable choices in their business at all levels of the supply chain.
Advice that EATABLE would give for businesses who want to take action in making a positive impact on the planet is to “Start small - think of little ways you can make sustainable choices in every area of your business, like reusing packing materials for shipping, instead of disposing of them. Encourage your employees and customers to do the same and be part of the movement within your community.”
KVAS Fine Beverage Co.
Crafted in small batches in Niagara, KVAS FBC's mission is to provide bar-quality syrups and garnishes that are simple to use, all-natural, and full of flavour. They are a true believer that having a sustainable product and business is what the future (and our planet) need to survive.
Co-founder Amy Kvas explains, “Our inspiration to produce a sustainable product is for our children. We are a family business, and we want to be involved in something that we are proud to either pass on or have our children involved in. We want to be a part of the solution, not the problem.” Creating partnerships and a community with local producers is key to succeeding with the environment in mind, “For a business to be successful, you need to create a path for your business to help others succeed as well,” continues Amy.
One of the hardest decisions to make in growing a company is knowing when to say no. “Growth isn’t always a good thing, but there is also a lot of pressure to always keep growing in the business world,” Amy shares. 2023 is KVAS FBC’s year of maintenance, “It’s a year where we are less concerned on numbers but rather our focus is on where we want this company to go. Although profits, sales, etc. are important, they keep your company going, the foundation of ethics and community need to be addressed as just important topics to have a healthier planet (and a healthier lifestyle for all).”
Amy feels hopeful that we, as a society, are moving in a direction of sustainability and cooperation with nature. “I think this change is inevitable, it’s something we ignored for too long and we are seeing the consequences of that … I see society really recognizing the value of nature and the extreme high costs of not cooperating with it." A successful business is one that not only generates profits but also takes responsibility for its impact on the environment and society. By prioritizing sustainability and collaboration with nature, businesses can contribute to a better future for everyone and position themselves for long-term success.
Les Groom Industries
Like most small businesses, Les Groom Industries has faced several challenges over the years, from limited staffing to timely procurement of supplies, logistics, and uncertainty during the early days of the pandemic. They also revamped their brand image in 2017 from being just a “beard oil” brand to a men’s lifestyle brand for fine grooming products - which was a cumbersome project. However, the biggest challenge was thinking outside the box to stand out from their competitors. They diversified towards skincare and haircare, which was a significant risk but ultimately paid off.
As an ethical business, Les Groom Industries understands that businesses must turn over traditional profits to ensure their existence. To them, being ethical is more limiting than a drugstore brand that still adds petroleum to self-care products and puts out truckloads of mass-produced items daily. “Our drive, believe it or not, is not to become millionaires. Taking care of the community and environment while running a business is possible; one must make a few more sacrifices. Not only is it doable, it feels necessary.” says co-founder, Julien Blanchard.
When asked what advice Les Groom Industries would give to businesses looking to be more sustainable, Julien suggests to “Set realistic goals and be cognizant that even the simplest ones can be surprisingly difficult. It’s essential to realize success is nonlinear. You need to be with people of shared values. Making a positive impact is hard work. So it’s crucial to be among those who will help you stay focused when you feel drained and hit a wall.”
Something they wish more businesses realized is how surprisingly affordable it is to offset their carbon or plastic footprint or commit to supporting ecosystem regeneration projects. If this was the norm in our economy of abundance, imagine what better place we would all be in.
Following the advice of fellow eco-friendly businesses, we at Good Earth Gifting, mirror their belief that working together is the driving factor to success. To create a sustainable future, both businesses and consumers must take an active role in making greener choices. Businesses can adopt practices that reduce their environmental impact, meanwhile, consumers can also make conscious decisions by supporting eco-friendly products and businesses that prioritize sustainability. That’s why every product in our shop is sourced from local, eco-friendly brands that share the same vision. By working together, we can create a more hopeful future where the environment is respected, protected, and preserved for generations to come.
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Good Earth Gifting is a sustainable corporate gifting platform that aims to educate individuals about eco-friendly initiatives, support local Canadian businesses, and inspire gifts for the good of the Earth. Check out our shop or customize a gift for your corporate gifting needs and make sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to join the conversation!