We live in an age when environmental issues are being addressed more than ever, and efforts are being made worldwide to respond to the ongoing effects of the climate crisis. For businesses, it is becoming ever clearer that adopting a sustainable approach to their practices is beneficial not only for the planet but for the business itself. A recent study found that four out of five consumers describe themselves as likely to choose a brand with a positive approach to environmental sustainability1. As consumers increasingly favour companies with a positive approach to helping the environment, Kevin Thackrah, Director of Petpals, discusses how the pet care specialists are taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint and how, by implementing eco-friendly strategies, franchises can help to preserve the earth whilst attracting customers and prospects alike.
Since launching in 2001, our brand has expanded to over 150 locations nationwide. As our franchise has continued to grow, I have felt an increasing sense of responsibility to monitor and review our practices and their effects on the environment. To remain an attractive service to our customers and a responsible franchise for our prospects, it has remained paramount that our care-based core values translate to all aspects of our business – from pets to the planet.
More than 60 percent of UK consumers want businesses to take action to tackle climate change and do more to help their customers go green2. Customers are more likely to engage with companies that integrate mindful environmental strategies into their business processes. Therefore, sustainability improves a business’s brand image and gives them a competitive advantage. There is plenty of room for franchisors to take advantage of this growth potential and protect the planet while securing financial benefits.
Petpals believe that making a franchise more sustainable is to ensure its long-term success. As we look to another year of growth and sentiment towards the environmental impact of consumerism and harmful business practices increases, we have recognised the importance of taking a closer look at the changes we can make to reduce waste and carbon emissions. We recently introduced paperless systems to minimise paper waste, a significant issue in office spaces. Given its environmental impact, getting to the root of the problem involved reviewing our reliance on paper company-wide and exploring alternative solutions – something we consistently do in all aspects of our business. Our network is equally taking steps to introduce more eco-friendly practices, with the widespread adoption of biodegradable poo bags and a commitment to training all staff on how to recycle effectively. From paperless systems to recycled uniforms, we are ensuring that care is at the heart of everything we do and that this is communicated to our potential customers and franchisees.
Depending on your franchise sector, road travel emissions inevitably play an important role in your brand’s carbon footprint. This month, our newest franchisees Nilay and Priyanka Sanghrajka will be bringing an additional electric van to our growing fleet of electric vehicles with their launch in Milton Keynes. Electric vans produce no emissions, meaning their widespread adoption has the potential to improve air quality dramatically. By adding to our fleet, we are committing to providing more eco-friendly vehicles that are fuel-efficient, produce low emissions, or are fully electric. Besides being environmentally sound, using sustainable energy sources can help save on overhead costs, saving our franchisees money. Profit matters and sustainable improvements can increase profits. But most of all, greener improvements matter because they protect the planet and, ultimately, our customers.
At Petpals, we are positioning sustainability as a focus and a commitment rather than a duty or a requirement. Suppose you integrate sustainable beliefs and systems at every level of your franchise. In that case, your brand’s ethos will seem welcoming to the broadest possible range of people and will continue to thrive as the world becomes increasingly environmentally conscious
1 SmartestEnergy: Sustainability Matters – Consumer Research Report
2 Wrap, 2021: Six in Ten Consumers Think UK Businesses Need to Act Now on Climate Change