07.06.23

YBI launches Sustainability Toolkit for micro and small enterprises led by underserved and young entrepreneurs

Anna Chojnicka
Anna Chojnicka Social and Green Entrepreneurship Lead YBI

 ’YBI’s Sustainability Toolkit is a set of practical, easy-to-use tools and guidelines which helps entrepreneurs develop sustainable businesses from the outset.’

Together with our members Fetola (South Africa), Hatch Enterprise(UK), KIZ (Germany), Positive Planet (France) and Youth Business Spain and social entrepreneurship consultancy SoJo, YBI has co-created a Sustainability Toolkit to support young and underserved entrepreneurs in integrating sustainable practices into their businesses as part of YBI’s programme supported by JPMorgan Chase. 
 
Our Social and Green Entrepreneurship Lead Anna Chojnicka explains what the Sustainability Toolkit is and how it will benefit YBI members and young and underserved entrepreneurs. 

1. What is the Sustainability Toolkit?  

YBI’s Sustainability Toolkit is a set of practical, easy-to-use tools and guidelines which helps entrepreneurs develop sustainable businesses from the outset. It is designed to be relevant and accessible to entrepreneurs at different stages, working in diverse contexts and cultures, including young, underserved entrepreneurs with little or no prior knowledge of sustainability. The toolkit helps them integrate sustainable environmental practices into their business.  
  
If an entrepreneur wants to learn about sustainability and develop sustainable practices within their business, this toolkit will help them do that.  

2. What is the purpose of the Sustainability Toolkit? What is it trying to achieve? 

There is increasing pressure on businesses to be sustainable, regardless of their industry. This means that while they are generating revenue and profit, they are striving to positively impact society and the environment.   
  
Many entrepreneurs want to do this, but don’t know how. Some frameworks exist to help large companies and multinational corporations report on their sustainability, but these are not relevant or accessible to entrepreneurs just starting out.  
  
YBI’s Sustainability Toolkit was co-created with five of our members, with consulting support from Sojo, and is designed to help entrepreneurs at all stages, working in different contexts. It helps them understand what sustainability is, why it is important and how it can help their business. Entrepreneurs are supported to set a sustainability vision, strategy and goals, and then translate that to day-to-day practices.  

3. What is an example of a tool from the Sustainability Toolkit?  

Some of the tools are designed to help develop strategy, and others to bring that strategy to life through action. An example of the latter is the ‘Energy Savings Checklist and Action Plan’ tool. It helps entrepreneurs adopt energy efficient approaches which reduce their business’ carbon footprint. This leads to a reduction in their energy costs and more efficient operations.  
  
Entrepreneurs are taken through the process of completing an energy efficiency checklist, covering categories such as operations and maintenance, heating, lighting, and office equipment. It helps businesses identify specific actions they can take to improve their energy efficiency, and to set goals and targets, and then assess improvement.  

4. How will the Sustainability Toolkit enable YBI members and other ESOs to support MSMEs to become more sustainable?  

Entrepreneur support organisations can use the toolkit to support entrepreneurs throughout their sustainability journey:

  1. To increase entrepreneurs’ awareness and understanding of what sustainability is and how it helps businesses not only reduce the damage they cause to people and planet, but also how it can bring value to their business and make them more investible.
  2. To help entrepreneurs set a sustainability vision, strategy and goals that work for their business, and
  3. To help them put this into practice through clear, actionable steps. 

‘There is increasing pressure on businesses to be sustainable, regardless of their industry. This means that while they are generating revenue and profit, they are striving to positively impact society and the environment.’

The Sustainability Toolkit is part of a broader toolkit that YBI is currently developing. The other sections, being developed with separate funding, will focus on governance and social impact. They are in the process of being tested with a small selection of members before wider release.

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