Businesses know that sustainability is important — both to a company’s long-term survival and to their commitment to the environment as good corporate citizens.

According to researchers, about 90% of the impact a company can have on the environment is through its supply chain. Consumers are increasingly aware of the problems that come when a supply chain isn’t sustainable or eco-friendly, and 33% of them now search for products with sustainability in mind. Given a choice between buying something from a company that has a reputation for using a sustainable source and one that doesn’t, 85% of consumers will choose the company with the better reputation for sustainability.

Here are some ideas that you can use to improve the sustainability of your supply chain:

  • Think local: By sourcing your products from a local manufacturer or provider, you reduce the transportation miles involved in your supply chain. That’s much more sustainable and eco-friendly than shipping raw materials overseas for production and shipping the final product back.
  • Use recycled and renewable materials: Recycled plastic or metal can be used in many consumer products — and they help keep waste materials out of landfills. When you can’t use recycled materials, look for materials that are produced with sustainability in mind. For example, bamboo has become a replacement for hardwood in some industries.
  • Reduce your packaging: Packaging is a great place to start using recycled materials. While it may not seem like much, your customers may appreciate the fact that those materials aren’t being made from virgin trees or just going to waste after shipping.

If environmental concerns and regulations have you shaking your head in confusion or feeling frustrated, turn to an experienced attorney for advice. It’s always better to be proactive than wait until you have a serious legal issue.