Science and Tech


Small businesses count on sustainability to succeed in the long run

Even small companies see benefits to making their business as sustainable as possible, as early as possible.
Posted at 9:45 PM, May 17, 2023

On every conveyor belt, packed into each box, you'll find homemade deliciousness getting prepared to be shipped across the country.

The founder and President of Bobo's Oat Bars, Beryl Stafford,  says the company was founded on natural ingredients, love and family.

"Bobo is the nickname of my daughter who is now 34," Stafford said. "But when she was 14 she started creating the first Bobo bar out of a cookbook."

As the business's success grew, naturally, so did its facilities.

"We had an office in Boulder, a bakery in Boulder, a bakery in Loveland, a warehouse in Loveland," Stafford said. "That's a lot of cars on the road, that's a lot of things getting moved around."

CEO TJ McIntyre says they have a goal to be around for at least 100 years. So sustainability was a top focus in the opening of their new 125,000 square foot bakery about an hour north of Denver.

"This is a brand new building, it's incredibly energy efficient, we made it 100% wind powered out of the gate, we have a 100% diversion rate of all of our cardboard and all of our raw material waste," McIntyre said. 

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According to an IBM Institute for Business Value Survey, 62% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce environmental impact. Half of the respondents are willing to pay a premium for sustainability.

Experts say the business landscape is changing, and sustainability is becoming more of a central focus for companies across the world. It's why even smaller companies are prioritizing it in their business models from the get-go.

The founder of Denver-based Unravel Coffee, Steve Holt, says nothing is better than a great cup of coffee — except for a sustainable one.

"Product that we're actually coproducing and bringing in, importing and roasting, was done in a really sustainable but also community-focused way," Holt said.

From their direct source of coffee at origin, to a zero-emissions roaster, they've implemented sustainable practices.

Holt says no matter the size of your business, there are always ways to implement eco-friendly models. Recent IBV research found that about 4 in 10 executives say environmental sustainability is a top priority for them today, and more than half say it will be in the next few years.