Starting a business as a kid can be an exciting and empowering experience. Young entrepreneurs can transform their ideas and passions into tangible products and services. But, with entrepreneurship comes responsibility. Facing challenges like climate change and pollution, Kidpreneurs need to build businesses sustainably. In this article, we will talk about how parents can teach their kids about green practices. These practices are good for the planet and for their business.
Green Business Practices 101: Use Eco-Friendly Materials
One of the first things to think about with a kid’s business is what materials they will use. There are many eco-friendly options available today that are affordable and functional. Kidpreneurs can recycle paper and cardboard for packaging and tags. Some companies print signs and logos on reusable materials such as bamboo and metal.
For clothing or crafts, choose organic cotton, hemp, or other sustainable materials. These are grown and made without the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. You can find wooden toys and decorations from renewable sources or thrift stores. Get creative and choose materials made from recycled content whenever possible.
Product packaging is essential but can also create a lot of waste. Teach your Kidpreneurs how to develop minimal and eco-friendly packaging. To lessen harm to the environment, make small changes. For example, use biodegradable materials and less packaging.
Kids can also be creative and use reusable tins, cloth bags, or other containers. If you need plastic for food packaging, choose #1 (PET) or #2 (HDPE) plastics that are easy to recycle. Compostable packing peanuts, cornstarch packing beads, and mushroom foam are also cool alternatives. The key is to only use as much material as needed.
Conserve Energy and Water to Maintain Green Business Practices
If Kidpreneurs have stores or workshops, they need to think about how much energy and water they use. Start by conducting an energy audit to see where you can find savings. Lower your electric bills by turning off lights, using LED bulbs, and relying on natural light. Also, remember to power down equipment when you’re not using it.
Low-flow faucets and other water conservation measures will cut down on water waste. If kids start their own businesses, they should track monthly utility usage and costs. This will help them find any issues or chances to improve. They can also consider renewable energy sources. For example, solar panels could be an option, if the startup costs make sense.
Support Green Shipping
E-commerce Kidpreneurs have to think about how they deliver products to customers. Regular shipping uses plastic and cardboard that end up in landfills. Introduce sustainable delivery alternatives like recyclable packaging and carbon-neutral shipping.
Green carriers use mushrooms or wool for cushioning, not plastic bubble wrap. Carbon offsets help reduce the carbon footprint of transporting goods. Kidpreneurs can also save on costs and emissions by grouping orders together. Offer customers incentives to choose the greenest shipping options at checkout.
Promote Green Business Practices by Going Paperless
Kidpreneurs can go paperless in their businesses, from accounting to marketing. Online accounting and invoicing software helps track financials without paper waste. Email marketing and automated social media replace mailed flyers and print ads. They can even sign contracts and legal forms online.
Shared calendars and project management apps reduce the need for paper notes. Older Kidpreneurs should create safe digital systems to store important business papers. Going paperless saves money and it’s friendly to the environment.
Get Creative with Upcycling
Upcycling turns what would be trash into inventive products and packaging. Encourage Kidpreneurs to view materials in new ways instead of dumping them. For example, they can clean glass jars or bottles and reuse them for food items or bath products. You can use scrap wood, fabric, yarn, and more to make home goods, toys, accessories, and unique items.
This reduces waste and helps Kidpreneurs create unique products that customers value. With some creativity, you can give new life to things that you would otherwise throw away. Upcycling is a great way to differentiate product offerings in an eco-friendly manner.
Support Fair Labor Practices in Addition to Green Business Practices
For Kidpreneurs who design or import their products, fair labor practices are key. Seek out woman and minority owned businesses when sourcing materials. Make sure the companies you research pay fair wages and have safe working conditions. It’s smart business to partner with suppliers who meet high ethical standards.
Kidpreneurs should also make sure the products they design and manufacture are responsible. When producing goods, avoid companies with histories of environmental pollution or labor issues. To be a socially-conscious business owner, you must care about how partners operate.
Donate to Eco Causes to Support Green Business Practices
Giving back to the community and the planet is an important part of any business. Kidpreneurs can integrate philanthropy into their business models to support environmental causes. They may choose to donate a part of profits or products each month to a green non-profit.
Tying donations to sales of certain items or promotions is another idea. For example, $1 from each widget sold in April supports clean water initiatives. subscriptions, or round-up donations at checkout are other simple ways to collect contributions. Being able to tout eco-friendly giving is attractive to like-minded customers.
Get Green Business Certifications
There are many respected organizations that offer certifications for businesses committed to sustainability. These include B-Corps, Green America, and 1% For The Planet among others. Companies must follow strict environmental and social standards to get certified.
Displaying these credentials shows customers that Kidpreneurs share their values. Certifications can also provide networking and marketing opportunities. Savvy Kidpreneurs will leverage eco-labels to differentiate and promote their business. Be sure to only pursue reputable certs that align with core priorities.
Make Green Business Practices a Learning Opportunity
The steps above give a framework. Kidpreneurs will have unique green practices. Making mistakes and learning along the way is part of the process. Parents can use sustainability as a teaching opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.
When challenges come up with product, packaging, or shipping, make it a learning lesson. Task Kidpreneurs with researching options and presenting business cases. Stress the importance of continuous improvement rather than perfection. Developing an environmental mindset from the start instills good habits. With some guidance, Kidpreneurs will make smart green choices.
Highlight Success Stories
Nothing motivates kids like seeing peers succeed. Share positive examples of Kidpreneurs implementing eco-best practices. Here are some ideas:
- Mikaila Ulmer, who is 9 years old, created Me & the Bees Lemonade. She buys from eco-friendly suppliers and gives some of the profits to save honeybees.
- Evie and Lexi Krzanich created Franny’s Flamingos. They make lawn decor and gifts using recycled materials. 10% of each sale goes to animal welfare groups.
- Sarina Chugani, who is 12 years old, earned B-Corp certification for her Angel Energy Bars. The bars use sustainable ingredients and practices. She works with local businesses and donates to homeless shelters.
- Alina Morse, who is 14, invented Zollipops, a sustainable and healthy lollipop option. She used natural ingredients.
Seeing young peers achieve success with environmental priorities shows it’s possible. Discuss case studies as a family. This will inspire new ideas and remind Kidpreneurs that green businesses can prosper.
Make an Impact
Kid entrepreneurs have energy and creativity, but may need guidance applying sustainability principles. Parents can help their children succeed by teaching sustainable business practices. Kidpreneurs can run businesses that make a positive impact on the planet with effort. The choices we make about where we get materials and how we package things can have big impacts. Teaching these values early creates skilled business leaders and caretakers of the environment.
These steps are some ways Kidpreneurs can make green choices in their ventures. Sustainability should be an ongoing conversation even after launching. To succeed, keep improving and stay updated on new green business solutions. The future relies on a new generation. They see environmental health as important from the start. And with guidance from parents, Kidpreneurs can help lead the way.