This a question that comes up often when we are talking about Ecolyze with the owners of SMEs across Europe.
This is why I want to share some of the stories and initiatives we are learning about. It may inspire someone; get a business owner to think differently about sustainability or just prove that even small, incremental steps can go a long way to achieve a better future for all of us.
Take for example, a restaurant and hospitality business from southwest Hungary. Whilst the company is not approaching sustainability in an organised and systematic manner, they have already deployed solar panels across a number of their restaurants and hotels. The owner wanted to become more independent from the local utility provider, potentially generate addition income and become a greener business.
His local business managers did not fully understand why they’re were doing this. One of them even asked: “How will this help me to hire and pay cooks?”
Roll the time forward a couple of years and the investment plays a key roll in making sure the business is staying afloat through the turbulent COVID times.
"Sustainability investment made the difference between having to let employees go and being able to retain them through the economic shutdown caused by COVID-19"
The company is far less effected by last year’s 60% hike in electricity prices. Even more importantly, these savings and the additional revenue generated by selling the solar electricity back into the grid has allowed the company to retain all their employees, even though its hotels have been shut for the last two months and the restaurants can only serve take-away food - only a small percentage of what they were making before the crisis hit. The local business mangers are very happy now that the solar panels were deployed.
I really like this example, because it clearly shows how being conscious of the environment has positive repercussion for the company in such unexpected, but welcomed way. Being sustainable really does create a much more resilient business, even at times of unimaginable change and upheaval. If you've got other examples like this, please share it with us and the rest of the community. Everyone can do with some positive stories amongst all the heartbreak.