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Being environmentally friendly is difficult. Here, 6 business leaders explain their most effective strategies.

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1. Think big and small.

“The aviation industry is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise, which is why we created Alaska Star Ventures to invest in emerging technologies that can accelerate our path to net-zero, such as advanced air mobility and green energy. But there are smaller ways to improve For example, if we replace single-use plastic bottles with Boxed Water, 1.8 million pounds of plastic will be removed from our planes in the next year.” — Diana Birkett Rakow, senior vice president of public affairs and sustainability, Alaska Airlines

Related: 4 Ways to Make Your Business More Eco-Friendly

2. Map the journey.

“There were a lot of things we could change to become more sustainable, like shipping our products in bags made from biodegradable corn. But as a small business, things are still out of reach. So we’re signing up with an organization that will determine our carbon footprint and provide a five-year roadmap to improve every part of the business.” — Elyce Arons, Co-Founder and CEO, Frances Valentine

3. Identify the core problem.

“Sustainability is a core value of ours, but it means so much more than just packaging or ingredients. Is my team’s workload sustainable? Is our churn rate sustainable? Whether it’s prioritizing regenerative farming practices, or adopting staff when my team’s workload exceeds capacity, sustainable choices cost more money. Startups with all-female founders receive 2% of all VC investment, so that’s the hurdle.” — Lauren Haynes, founder, Wooden Spoon Spices

Related: Examples of Eco-Friendly Business Ideas

4. Decide that the future is worth it.

“One of the biggest impacts we can have is to ensure that our products last many years longer than most garments. We invest in eco-friendly and sustainable performance materials and construction methods, and we reinforce key stress points on all of our garments. These materials are more expensive and the reinforced stitches require expert work. Our customers also buy less because our clothes wear out less often.” — Danny Charbonnet, Founder and CEO, All citizens

5. Innovate now to win customers later.

“We were looking for a recycling program that accepts bras, one of the most complicated pieces of clothing to break down and recycle. Nothing existed, so we worked with sustainability experts to devise our own program and found a partner who could reliably help us all parts of our products. We pay a fee for each piece, but we have found that our customers appreciate this offer and are more loyal as a result.” — Jenna Kerner, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Harper Wilde

Related: 3 Ways You Can Bring Sustainability to Your Workplace

6. If the answer doesn’t exist, build it up.

“Given the history of waste and irresponsibility in the beauty industry, making sustainable choices often meant there was no path to follow. But that eventually became a gift, as it forced us to develop our ‘Full Circle’ process – together working with farmers to source ingredients organically, ensure our formulations use the zero-waste extraction process, and create our own in-house recycling lab.” — Lena Korres, Co-Founder and Brand President, KORRES

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