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4 Essential Guidelines for Running a Profitable Sustainable Shop

Shutterstock Licensed Photo - 2063459975 | Tero Vesalainen



More people in the United Kingdom are concerned about sustainability than ever before. A recent poll by Deloitte UK found that 57% of consumers want to make more sustainable products more affordable and 54% of consumers want to encourage the government and brands to limit plastic use and other harmful products.

This mirrors trends that consumers are facing in the United States as well. The truth is that people all over the world are more interested in sustainability these days.

Businesses need to appreciate the importance of embracing sustainable business practices in order to reach these customers. They must use products with minimal plastic, utilize businesses processes that have a low carbon footprint and try to make sure that the products they create are recyclable.

If you’re trying to create a new shop, then you are going to wanna make sure that it is eco-friendly. Keep reading to learn some of the tips that you should follow to deliver on your pledge of sustainability.

What steps can your business take to be more sustainable?

The demand for sustainable products has increased drastically in recent years, with the topic cropping up more and more across the UK and beyond. Many are choosing to cash in on the buzz by seeking out business opportunities with the potential to flourish in this space.

If you’re thinking of setting up a sustainable shop, whether it’s a slow fashion store, a refill shop or a place that sells upcycled furniture, there are a few things to consider beforehand. Opening a shop of any kind requires a lot of planning and organisation. Typical tasks involve deciding on the right insurance for your shop, rental agreements and licensing. Before this, you need to decide on other factors to help you maximise the success of your new venture. Here are a few pointers to help you get started.


Sustainability resonates with some people more than others. Certain neighbourhoods in the UK, often with young millennial families with disposable income, are filled with independent businesses and sustainable shops are woven into that mix.

Take time to review local population statistics, as certain demographics in the UK, such as those aged 18 to 24, care more about buying from ethical retailers. Meanwhile, the same stats show that less than half of those aged 65 or above would be more likely to buy from an ethical retailer. It’s also worth assessing how accessible your shop would be through public transport


When designing your shop, consider how you can do so with minimal impact on the environment to align with your ethos. From eco-friendly paint that doesn’t contain toxins to low-energy LED bulbs, simple switches can make a big difference.

Where possible, you could also use upcycled or second-hand items to decorate the space. Think about the type of materials used too, as reclaimed wood is a much more sustainable option than most. You should also try to avoid using single use plastic in your designs. There are many countries that have already banned single use plastic, but it is bad for the planet even if it has not been banned.


Make sure your utilities are managed as efficiently as possible too. This spans water and waste management, as well as energy efficiency. Be sure to implement a solid recycling and waste disposal system and try to save water and energy where possible.

This might involve research to make sure you’re doing everything you can, or even seeking insight from a consultant in this field.

Supply chain

Having a small, traceable supply chain is key to a sustainable business. It’s the reason why fast fashion models can never be sustainable, as it’s impossible to fully monitor exploitation across the supply chain.

Sustainability encompasses social factors just as much as it does environmental factors, so bear this in mind too. Are you happy that your suppliers are operating ethically and paying their workers a fair wage? Be sure to practice what you preach.

Make sustainability a priority as a UK business owner

There are number of things that business owners in the United Kingdom need to do to be more sustainable. They should consider following the guidelines listed above.

Morwenna Kearns is a freelance writer, online editor and PR and social media manager for businesses and organisations running the sustainability and ethical gamut, from fashion to food to filmmaking. She also works within the visual communications sector. Morwenna can be found tweeting as @morwennakearns, blogging about ethical fashion and beauty at and editing environmental business news at


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