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small business hub

There are more than 31 million small businesses in the US alone.  Globally, SMEs are estimated to represent 80% of business.  The collective efforts of small business matter—they're critical to accelerate climate action.  If you're a small business, this guided directory is for you...  


starting the journey
 



01 | leading ESG initiatives


02 | circular thinking


03 | decarbonization


04 | resource directory + tools


05 | credible communications

01

leading ESG initiatives

There isn't one path to becoming a more sustainable, responsible organization.  In honesty, the sheer amount of sustainability standards, guidelines, indices, etc. is tough to keep up with—even for those who have been doing this work for decades.  So as you build your roadmap, rest-assured you're not alone if it feels like a lot. 

 

A good place to start is familiarizing yourself with the leading global initiatives that organizations use to structure and report their progress. 

 

Below is a shortlist of standards, frameworks, and more to dip your toe in.  There's no need to understand it all (there's a lot of wonderful, trained people who can support you there).  But I promise your journey and confidence will drastically accelerate if you're familiar with the world's most credible principles and practices.  

GRI

One of the first go-to sustainability standards/frameworks for the world's largest organizations.  It includes universal, sector, and topic standards (environmental, social, and economic) to answer: how is this business impacting the world?

 

Even though this document is for policy makers, I really like pages 10 + 11.  It shows the types of topics leading sustainability teams a) consider and b) report on if material.  

Global Reporting Initiative >>

CDP

A non-profit charity and globally revered rating system that formed over 20 years ago.   

 

This global disclosure system is designed for investors, companies, cities, states, and regions to manage their environmental impacts.  3 key areas of disclosure are climate change, forests, and water security. 

CDP >>

SASB

SASB developed on the heels of GRI.  The "A" in SASB stands for "accounting".  This standard has a strong financial perspective and focuses on materiality.  The premise of SASB is opposite of GRI: how will the changing world affect my business?

 

The Materiality Finder is a great area to explore.  It maps out sustainability risks and opportunities by industry.   

 

SASB >> 

SDGs

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

 

At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  It's common to see companies match their efforts to a unique combination of these goals. 

United Nations SDGs >>

TCFD

This stands for Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures.  This framework focuses on large corporations disclosing the financial risk that climate change presents to the global economy.

TCFD recommendations are organized by governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets.   

TCFD >>

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02

circular thinking

All of the modern comforts we enjoy today are thanks to the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s.  This disruption changed the world for the better, yet the take-make-waste formula it was structured on has passed its limit. 

Today, hundreds of years later, it is time to enjoy transformation again.  Enter the circular economy...

 

Contrary to a throwaway economy, circularity is about eliminating waste, circulating resources, and regenerating nature.  A gold-standard resource to immerse yourself in is the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.  Check it out—the goal is to embed circular design thinking into the very core of your organization.      

1

eliminate waste

2

keep materials in use

3

regenerate nature

03

decarbonization

Decarbonization is the core of any sound ESG strategy.  And it all begins with data.  The great news is, as a small business, the initial data collection process may be relatively manageable.  

As your emissions data comes together and is classified into Scopes 1, 2, and 3, you can start taking action on a path forward.  It's common for organizations to follow a path similar to the one illustrated below.  Yet, your brand's path will be unique.  There are fantastic advisors and partners who can support you every step of the way.     

Advisors

resource directory

advisors          books          carbon data          carbon offsets          certifications

packaging          shipping solutions         shopify apps          traceability 
Advisors
Ocean Head Solar (Hawaii) 
Native.eco
Schneider Electric
3 Degrees
Pachama



Books
Cradle-to-Cradle
Doughnut Economics
Drawdown
Material Value
The Upcycle



Carbon Data
Persefoni (software in Beta)
WBCSD GHG Calculators
Climate Neutral BEE



Certified Carbon Offsets
*Only purchase third-party verified.  For instance: VERA, Climate Action Reserve, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry.  
Native.eco

Terrapass
Pachama
Carbonfund.org
South Pole
Sustainable Travel International (tourism)



ESG Certifications + Initiatives
Buildings
LEED
USGBC
WELL


Carbon + Renewables
SBTi
RE100
Climate Neutral

Circularity
C2C
TRUE Zero Waste

CE100

Energy Efficiency
EP100

Fleet Electrification
EV100

General
B Corp



Packaging Solutions
EcoEnclose
Avery Dennison
Vela
ECO Products (food)
Mushroom Packaging



Shipping Solutions
Sendle


Shopify Apps
Balance by Carbon Checkout
Planet (currently in Beta)



Traceability
Open Apparel Registry

 
Books
Carbon Accounting
Carbon Offsets
Certifcations
Packaging
Shipping
Shopify Apps
Traceablility
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