If you are a wedding supplier looking to introduce sustainable practises into your business, then this is the guide for you. With more couples putting sustainability as a priority when planning their wedding celebration, 2023 is definitely the year to think about your ethical credentials, so we put together a wedding supplies guide to introducing sustainability into your business to help you get started.
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Introducing sustainability into your wedding business – a five step process
Infographic caption: A five step process to introduce sustainability into your wedding business
1. Audit your current approach – Sustainability Assessment
If you are looking to introduce sustainability into your business the first step is to do an audit of your current approach so that you can get a clear understanding of your impact and make a strategic plan for making change. The more thorough you are in your audit the more transparency you’ll have your overall brands impact on people on the planet, and this will allow you to create a plan which is Intentional, purpose lead unmanageable. The last thing you want is to create when starting to think about being sustainable is a monster list that feels insurmountable. At the Sustainable Wedding Alliance we conduct Sustainability Assessments, and help business owners like you to create and implement a sustainability approach for your brand based in seven key areas. These seven key areas will help you to order your business and your impact both thoroughly and holistically.
The seven key areas are:
- Supply chain
- Team and community
In the Sustainable Wedding Alliance membership we have tools, resources and support that will help you to both audit your brand, but also formulate the plan and implementation for making those all important changes. Part of this is the self paced e-learning course ‘ Building a Sustainable Business’. Checkout the Membership page for more details.
2. Set goals that are right for you
When setting goals to introduce sustainability into your wedding business is important to make them SMART so that you can make a strategy that is both implementable and sustainable for you and your business. Smart goals are:
Specific – Be specific as possible for your goals, and remember that small changes can have a big impact, so don’t worry of the goals and micro level this may even be of benefit.
Measurable – Make sure you can measure the impact of your changes. This is where doing an audit process first helps you, as you’ll have more awareness of your current position so you can measure your changes and effect they have. An example could be reducing Waste by 20%. You’ll need to measure how much waste you were creating before and have a mechanism to measure it’s going forward to be able to achieve your goal with integrity.
Achievable – there are so many opportunities to make positive change for the planet and your business performance but make sure you create goals which are achievable within your business and at current level. So for example you wouldn’t want to set a goal for planting 1000 trees as the cost of doing that would be detrimental or unachievable with your current finances.
Realistic – A key element of creating goals for your business that you can achieve, it’s to ensure you focus in your current reality and any challenges that you may encounter, with the necessary mitigations for those challenges this will help you to stay on track with moving forwards and achieving your goals.
Timely – set realistic deadlines the appropriate to your business and the seasonality of the wedding industry overall. For example, you may want to plan some activities outside the main wedding season – particularly if they are changes which need you to be working on your business rather than in it (as an example – setting the goal of switching your website to an ethical provider it might be timely to plan this when you are not in the middle of your business season)
Setting smart goals is really essential if you want to make feasible and sustainable change your brand.
3. Create a plan of implementation
Once you’ve audited your business and set relevant goals, you’ll need to create a plan to introduce the sustainability policies into your wedding business. When putting together your plan you’ll need to consider the following areas:
Here’s a few top tips from online visibility specialist Pamela Rae-Welsh on creating your plan:
- Drill down into detail as much as possible. This will help you to manage the change and implementation more effectively. So for example rather than having “reduce waste per wedding by 20%” drill down to “swap all single use plastic to degradable options by July 2023”.
- Set milestones you can measure yourself against this has the double win of helping to keep you on track but also giving you minor wins on the journey.
- Don’t forget your Communication Plan. Keeping people informed both in and outside of your business will make the implementation of the changes much smoother.
Obviously you’ll have a set of finite changes (such as swapping a supplier or stopping a process) but you will also have continuous changes you need to embed into the culture of your business, so when you engage in implementation make sure you are clear on what the ongoing requirements are going to be. To make your changes sustainable in your business you need to be clear on how this will affect your future business goals and strategy – this way you’ll be more likely to succeed.
5. Gain accreditation
The benefits of gaining accreditation for your wedding business, to demonstrate your sustainability credentials are multidimensional. By becoming accredited with the Sustainable Wedding Alliance you will be able to:
- Gain an independent accreditation to recognise your efforts
- Be a part of the community of like minded entrepreneurs in the wedding industry that can support and champion your efforts
- Raise your profile with your network
- Trust in your brand with conscious couples
Related Content: How to make your wedding venue more sustainable
A wedding suppliers guide to introducing sustainability into your business, let’s summarise…
If you’re serious about introducing sustainability into your wedding business this by step approach can help you to create meaningful and sustainable change in your business rather than just making swaps and hoping for the best. You will be able to demonstrate your ethical values proudly and legitimately. When do you want to get started?