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New Year Resolutions for all businesses in 2010 by Bricks and Bread Sustainable Living Centre

Posted 5th January 2010.

New Year is traditionally when we resolve to stop doing the things that are bad for us but then we lose motivation and slip back into our old ways.

2010 is destined to be a year of significant change for all businesses. Last year the credit crunch forced companies to make drastic, often painful decisions to stay in business. This year driven by politics, the environment and economics, businesses will have to change the way they deal with their waste, energy and transport use. Those that resolve to adapt now, taking responsibility for the environmental damage they cause, will be securing a sustainable and profitable future for their business.

Trudy Thompson the Founder of the Bricks and Bread Sustainable Living Centre says People need more than willpower to make their business more sustainable. They will succeed if they can obtain expert guidance, financial incentives and business growth opportunities to motivate them into action.

World leaders may have failed to make instant decisions at Copenhagen but dont let this lull you into thinking it will take years before anything changes. People power is driving the green revolution forward at a rapid pace. Your customers will expect you to supply low carbon, sustainable products.

Consumers react faster to change than governments, with an election looming their voting power will influence politicians to push their green credentials, they will be under pressure from people driven environmental campaigns like 10:10 or 350.org to deliver on promises to address climate change and reduce co2.

We all need to address the issues we are causing with carbon emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels. Businesses who avoid doing anything or use green wash marketing to make it look like they are doing something are risking damaging their business for ever. Not just from the rising fuel prices, the increasing costs from running their business and the carbon tax they will have to pay. Consumers are more aware and concerned about climate change.

These resolutions can save you money, make your business more efficient as well as increase your sales. Best of all it can help you win respect from your customers and staff.
For more information take a look at www.bricksandbread.com or call Bricks and Bread Sustainable Living Centre on 01252 314060

1 Join the low carbon economy
Without doubt this must be the number one resolution for every business this year. You need to drastically reduce your carbon emissions. Take a walk around your premises, one of your first tasks will be to accurately identify your carbon emissions, make sure you record this value to assess how you are doing. Your energy use is a major area where you can reduce your co2, there are grants, loans or cost savings you can benefit from.

2 Learn new skills
Training to learn a new skill or update your knowledge will help your company grow, give you a competitive edge, save money on outsourced services and become more efficient or respond to change quicker, especially if you learn a sustainable green skill to join the low carbon economy.

3 Create a sustainable supply chain
Buy from local independent suppliers, choose your products carefully for their environmental performance, watch out for products that are just green washed and dont fool your customers about your green credentials.

4 Make your business marketing more efficient
Keep in touch with your customers by using online social networking sites like linkedin, facebook or twitter to promote your business. Its free, instant and used well it can really help find new contacts. Use a low carbon website hosting service and keep your website up to date.

5 Perfect your networking skills
Apart from having great customer service, your business contacts are the key to a successful business. Good contacts are easy to create by regularly attending networking events, but choose the events you go to wisely, go for ones with leading expert speakers who will teach you something useful or connect you with sustainable businesses.

6 Write a decent business plan
Before you borrow money write a great business plan, especially if you are looking to change direction and become a sustainable business. It will help you follow a clear path and will show your strengths and weaknesses.

7 Look at your transport
Now is the time to make major changes to your transport use as the cost of motoring is going to seriously rise this year. There are tax incentives and financial benefits if you choose more efficient vehicles and money to be saved by reducing your fuel costs. Consider using more public transport, try walking or cycling it will make you fitter and save you money. Working from home, using video conferencing or just planning your transport use can make a huge difference to your efficiency and quality of life.

8 Inspire your employees
A team building event or a staff competition can do wonders to improve their motivation and morale, especially after the unsettling credit crunch. It doesnt have to cost a fortune to reward loyalty a gift voucher for a family day out or a box scheme of locally sourced food can be great incentives.

9 Waste must be reduced, reused or recycled
Reduce your waste, consider how it could be reused before recycling. Putting mixed rubbish in a bin and sending it to landfill is no longer a responsible business practise. Encourage your staff to recycle ink cartridges and mobile phones by joining a scheme that benefits a local charity. If you have organic waste it can be used to create energy or compost, paper can be shredded for animal bedding or packaging. If the product you sell creates waste for your customer to dispose of you need to make your packaging recyclable there are alternatives that dont cost more and will help improve the image of your business show your customers you care by using a printing company that can print on 100% recycled paper and uses vegetable inks.

10 Use plants to improve wellbeing and performance
The office environment can be vastly improved by adding a few plants, they will do more than brighten up the place, the health benefits are considerable, they will improve the air quality and reduce the impact of sick building syndrome. Consider creating a green roof on your office building as a leisure space for staff or just for wildlife, the benefits are considerable; from reducing your heating and air conditioning costs, to reducing flood water run off. If you have outside space why not get some seeds, compost and encourage everyone to get involved with growing some vegetables, youll be amazed how quickly even the most reluctant gardener becomes interested.

These are some ideas to inspire you, if you really want to make your business more sustainable at Bricks and Bread Sustainable Living Centre we have created this social enterprise to help people find the realistic ways they can live, work and build sustainably. Our business collaborates with leading experts and sustainable companies to provide easy access to the independent advice, skills training and verified products that enable people to join the low carbon economy.

Find out more about us at www.bricksandbread.com or call us on 01252 314060

Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bricksandbread

To network with Trudy Thompson find her on Linkedin at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/trudythompson