As we approach Earth Day on 22 April, it’s a good time to reflect on our business’s environmental impact and consider ways to reduce it. Eco-savvy procurement of office supplies is an effective way to minimise a business’s carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.

So if you’ve been struggling to make the switch and need a bit of motivation to go green, here are five reasons why eco-savvy procurement will pay environmental, social, and governance (ESG) dividends.

Leave a lighter footprint

While it might sound obvious, one of the most significant benefits of eco-savvy procurement is a reduced environmental footprint – something every business should be striving for on a daily basis.

By choosing products made from sustainable materials, such as recycled paper, and energy-efficient equipment, such as low-power printers and energy-saving light bulbs, retailers can minimise waste production and their impact on the environment.

Retailers can reduce transportation emissions by choosing local suppliers or opting for digital delivery options. Other tips include implementing a comprehensive recycling program, using no-VOC interior paints, installing motion sensors for lighting, using non-toxic cleaning products and introducing plants.

Green is the new black

Sustainability and cost-savings don’t have to be mutually exclusive – in fact, choosing the more sustainable path can actually keep your business in the black. While sustainable equipment and products might initially cost more upfront, they almost always save money on bills in the long term.

By implementing energy-efficient equipment, for example, it’s possible to reduce electricity bills. More durable, high-quality products can also reduce the need for frequent replacements, which will naturally lead to cost savings.

OfficeBrands chief merchandise officer, Craig Matthews.

Positive brand image

In today’s world, consumers are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly products and services. Research from Coleman Parkes Research found that 88% of consumers want packaging to provide more information about sustainability, and 92% of consumers would choose paper-based over plastic-based packaging.

Further research from Mintel found a third of urban Australians prefer to buy products that are sold in eco-friendly packaging (32%), as well as produced using sustainable sourcing methods (34%).

By demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility through eco-savvy supplies, packaging, and equipment, retailers can attract and retain the next generation of customers who value sustainability over almost everything else.

Ride the regulation wave

Governments around the world are implementing regulations and laws to reduce environmental impact. Eco-savvy procurement can help businesses comply with these regulations, avoiding potential penalties and fines – saving yet more money in the process.

Compliance involves looking at the whole picture. Zero in on your supply chain and ensure that their partners are actively acting in a sustainable way – rather than simply saying they are.

Consistently seek to improve chain-of-custody information and compliance through annual reviews, reports and actions in partnership with preferred suppliers. An ethical sourcing framework can help massively with compliance and will minimise the environmental impacts of supplier operations and products.

Energise your workforce

Like consumers, employees are increasingly environmentally conscious, and demonstrating a commitment to sustainability can improve morale and engagement. Staff expect their employer to be part of the solution when it comes to environmental and social issues, with any eco-savvy activity creating a positive feedback loop internally.

Prioritising eco-savvy procurement will show employees that their employer shares their values and is committed to making a positive impact on the world. This can lead to improved employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

By embracing sustainability, businesses can make a positive contribution to a more sustainable future while smashing their business objectives. Trying new things, embracing new ways of thinking, and listening to what makes customers tick is the key to success. Why not start with procurement?

Craig Matthews is chief merchandise officer at OfficeBrands.