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How Small Businesses Can Become More Eco-Friendly: Insights from Yuvabe's Sustainability Drive

Oftentimes, embarking on the path to environmental sustainability can seem overwhelming for a small-scale organization. The fact that the bulk of global carbon emissions originates from just the top 100 companies of the world, may make the prospect even discouraging. And yet, it is also true that every small step has significance and when compounded can have the potential for a big impact on our world.

Here's a practical guide inspired by our journey at Yuvabe, on how you too can make organization-level decisions to make your organization a little more sustainable:

1. Embracing and promoting eco-friendly commuting

Office commute can make up a large, though indirect, part of your organization's carbon footprint.  In 2018, fossil fuels and industrial activities accounted for 89% of global CO2 emissions [1]. Among these, oil combustion stands out as a significant contributor, responsible for roughly one-third of the world's total carbon emissions.

At Yuvabe, we have facilitated the shift to E-cycles for more than 30 of our employees. Shoutout to Auroville’s E-mobility unit, Kinisi, for supporting us in this endeavor. The total emissions generated by conventional fuel vehicles in our region amount to approximately 7996 KgCO2 units annually during the daily work commute. With the adoption of E-cycles and their regular usage, we anticipate reducing this amount to approximately 1504 KgCO2 units of emissions.

Yuvabe members posing with their Kinisi E-cycles.

The total emissions generated by conventional fuel vehicles in our region amount to approximately 7996 KgCO2 units annually during the daily work commute. With the adoption of E-cycles and their regular usage, we anticipate reducing this amount to approximately 1504 KgCO2 units of emissions.

Supporting your team in getting access to more eco-friendly ways to commute can be a great way to make a significant environmental impact.


2. Using aluminum or steel water bottles in the organization 

By replacing plastic water bottles with reusable aluminum ones, you can eliminate the need for disposable plastics that account for 83g CO2 emission [2]  roughly for 1 bottle, thus reducing waste and protecting the environment. 

To promote healthy hydration, we gifted our team members with reusable aluminum water bottles on Yuvabe’s third anniversary. The bottle graphics were designed by our in-house graphic designer and it makes for a creative promotional tool for the organization as well!  

Yuvabe team members using reusable aluminum water bottles.

Turning towards steel or aluminum bottles is also a matter of personal health. According to research, plastic bottles can over time release certain chemicals, and depending on the type of plastic, start breaking down and releasing nanoplastics or even microplastics in the water.

By replacing plastic bottles, you not only promote health and sustainability of our planet but also yourself.


3. Saying Yes to carrying durable, sustainable carry bags

The carbon footprint of single-use plastic bags is 33g CO2 . While cotton bags have a higher initial production emission, their durability and biodegradability make them a sustainable choice in the long run. To motivate our team to carry their cloth bags, we gifted cloth bags to everyone during our team celebrations.

Yuvabe team members going to work with their cloth bags.

By facilitating these small changes, you too will be able to bring about a lifestyle change in your team members. Not to mention that branded cloth bags are also a sustainable yet creative tool that your small-scale organization can use for marketing!

4. Going green with office lunches

While it may not be the easiest one to adopt, creating options for locally produced, healthy lunches for your team can have a big impact on your team’s overall sustainability quotient. 

30% of Yuvabe team lunches are cooked using solar energy at Solar Kitchen,Auroville.

Approximately half of the Yuvabe team takes the lunch plan at Auroville’s famous Solar Kitchen. There, steam generated using solar energy is used for about 30% of the cooking. This cooking method reduces the need for conventional energy sources, thus drastically lowering carbon emissions typically associated with cooking facilities. 

Moreover, the team at solar kitchen opts for locally and organically grown produce as much as possible, minimizing the emissions associated with farming as well as long-distance transportation of food items.

Image of the  the Solar Bowl which sits atop the Solar Kitchen in Auroville.

Studies conducted within Auroville have shown that solar cooking methods can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 60-70% further underlining the impact of our culinary choices on sustainability. This collective effort not only nourishes our bodies but also nurtures the planet, seamlessly integrating sustainability into the fabric of our organization.

5. Celebrating festivals the eco-friendly way

Keeping environmental sustainability in mind during festival celebrations can be another step. For instance, at Yuvabe, we distributed sweets packaged in sugarcane bagasse during Diwali, last year. Supporting eco-friendly solutions and local businesses during festivities can inspire team members too to adopt more sustainable practices.

Your support for local initiatives and small businesses working in eco-friendly gifting and packaging can be a significant step towards making sustainability a practice at an organizational as well as individual level.  


6. Aligning with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

If you are unsure about where to begin, referring to the UN SDGs can be a good starting point. By identifying which SDGs your organization can contribute to, you can start integrating them in your practices wherever possible. Tracking progress towards SDGs and sharing achievements with your team might also increase motivation amongst the team members to stay on top of the environmental game. 

For example, at Yuvabe we actively engage with certain SDGs like:

Illustration with text " Affordable and Clean Energy"
Affordable and Clean Energy
Illustration with text "Climate Action".
Climate Action
Illustration with text "Responsible Consumption and Production".
Responsible Consumption and Production


Remember, sustainability is a journey and every small practice counts. By implementing these steps, your small-scale organization can become a catalyst for positive environmental change, drive change, and pave the way for a healthier, more resilient planet. Join us in our journey towards sustainability – because together, we can make a difference, one small practice at a time!



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