Every business is in an individual position when it comes to adopting and implementing eco-efficient practices. Your business may be just beginning this process, while others, already benefiting from incorporating initial, easy-to-apply strategies and procedures, are now prepared to implement the next level to achieve further gains.
Hairdressing salons are increasingly considering environmental performance as part of their planning and operational procedures. Adopting eco-efficient business practices will not only benefit the environment, but will also improve business operational efficiency and reduce costs.
This guide outlines practical measures that can be used to improve eco-efficiency in your business.
How to go about it
The first step in improving the eco-efficiency of your business is to establish a baseline for your current practices. This usually involves conducting an eco-efficiency audit.
Follow the suggested steps to eco-efficiency for guidance on eco-efficiency improvement.
As part of your planning process, you should check your current energy and water use, as well as a number of other specific areas shown below. A range of actions to improve efficiency are suggested, including easy, low-cost strategies as well as those that require some investment.
Energy: Hairdressing salons operate air-conditioners, lighting, dryers and other appliances which consume a substantial amount of electricity, so a major step in improving eco-efficiency is to reduce their energy use. Using energy efficient appliances is one straight forward way to achieve significant savings.
Water: Hairdressing salons use substantial volumes of water for washing hair and towels, and cleaning. Adopting water saving strategies will make a considerable difference to water consumption.
Check your water bill for the past year and list the main water users in your facility.
Waste: Substantial quantities of wastewater are generated by hairdressing salons. Packaging also adds to the total amount of waste.
Record the quantities of waste you dispose of yourself. Assess the quantities and different types of waste you generate and the disposal methods.
Chemicals: Hairdressing salons use a range of hair care products and cleaning chemicals that can have implications for clients, the environment and staff. In recent years, new products have emerged that provide good results with much-reduced, or even no, impacts.
Research the chemicals and cleaning products you use. Some chemicals have more of an impact on the environment and health than others.
Suppliers: List the materials you receive regularly from suppliers, how the materials are delivered, and any other relevant information (e.g. how they are produced and packaged). Think about any aspect of the materials and supplies that may have an eco-efficiency impact and identify your priorities for action.
For more eco-efficiency tips go to the general guide.
What others are doing
Many hairdressing salons have improved their environmental performance. Case studies on hairdressing salons have been prepared that outline what other innovative owners are doing to build their green credentials and their businesses.
Who should be involved?
Both employees and management should be involved if you want to improve your environmental performance and reduce your operational costs. Tell your customers about your green strategies and achievements. Your efforts for the environment may be the extra persuasion that customers need to use your business over a competitor’s.
Read more about who to involve.
Who can help?
Investing in new technology can be expensive. However, the savings you make can often pay for the technology in just a few years. Government assistance may also be available to help you in the uptake of more eco-efficient technology. The links listed in this section indicate what is presently available.
Over 24,000 hairdressing salons operate across Australia, with just under 20 per cent of them in Queensland. They employ almost 72,000 people and inject around $3 billion into the national economy. Most salons are small, owner-operated businesses, although the number of franchised salons is growing. The industry is extremely competitive, and 6–8 per cent of Australian hairdressing salons are forced to close their doors each year.
Implementing good managerial skills and operational procedures can help businesses improve their competitiveness.
The key factors affecting profitability and business growth are:
- the amount of disposable household income
- the level of consumer confidence
- population growth
- the number of women aged over 18 years old.
These factors not only affect the number of visits to the hairdresser but also the type of services requested, with the more expensive services more popular in times of stable economic growth.
In Queensland, owners and managers are continually looking for ways to differentiate their salon and strengthen their market presence. Queensland salons also face rising costs for energy and water.
It is expected that hairdressing industry will grow at over three per cent a year, over the next five years to 2016. The industry will continue to operate in a very competitive environment with overseas franchise operators entering the sector and undertaking aggressive marketing.
One of the biggest areas targeted for improvement will be to implement better managerial and operational skills to improve competitiveness. Research suggests that price is not always the deciding factor that consumers use when deciding on a hairdresser or service. Consumers are driving a growing trend towards ‘green’, ‘organic’ and ‘chemical-free’ hairdressing products.
With all this in mind, smart salon operators are taking steps to improve their eco-efficiency and reap both business and environmental benefits.
IBISWorld 2010, Hairdressing and Beauty Salons in Australia