Sustainable business is much more than a global trend; sustainability has become a necessary business mission for healthy, growing companies across around the world. Businesses today are more and more concerned with the ways their processes minimize waste in the form of time, energy, and materials.

But even the most eco-conscious organizations may work with vendors and suppliers who are not up to par with these sustainable values. Moreover, is there even an easy way to find out? Yes. Before your next call or meeting with your suppliers, you’ll need to evaluate whether or not they are contributing to – or sabotaging – your company’s sustainability efforts. Fortunately, Intuit by Quickbooks breaks down 4 easy ways to find out how sustainable your partners really are.

  1. Ask, and you shall receive (an answer): It’s simple. Ask your suppliers what types of sustainability programs they have in place, or what environmentally friendly practices they implement. You will find that some suppliers may answer confidently, while others have not much to say. Rule of thumb — if a company’s practices are sustainable, everyone will know about it. Be weary of those who have to “get back to you” for an answer.
  2. Send out surveys: This is an easy way to lay out the issues that are important to your business without making numerous phone calls. Explain to your suppliers what you request (or require) from them from a sustainability standpoint, and allow them to easily answer questions you may have about them. This can be done electronically to save paper (also sustainable).
  3. Keep conversation open: Your suppliers should act as business partners, working with you to help achieve your goals. If you see something that could use improvement on their end, offer up suggestions to them. This type of dialogue creates opportunities to enhance both businesses in the end.

Get tip #4 from Intuit QuickBooks and Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends here

Learn more about United Packaging’s sustainable business efforts here.