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An eco-friendly business, or “green business” is one that demonstrates a commitment to an environmentally sustainable future. Green businesses strive to have a positive impact on the environment and their community. This can be achieved through many practices and strategies, from recycling to sourcing local products and promoting energy efficiency.
Eco-friendly small businesses deliver more than profits. But beyond the feel-good impact that comes with making the world a better place, environmentally conscious businesses cater to a rapidly growing market.
“Despite the fact that millennials are coming of age in one of the most difficult economic climates in the past 100 years,” according to a recent Nielsen global online study, “they continue to be most willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings—almost three-out-of-four respondents in the latest findings.”
Generation Z does not want to be left behind either: The rise in the percentage of respondents ages 15–20 who are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact hovered around 72%.
Businesses that establish eco-friendly or green values or practices have an opportunity to grow market share and build loyalty among consumers now and in the future.
There’s never been a better time to launch an eco-friendly small business. We’ve undoubtedly seen a ton of change in the last year toward climate solutions and policy, especially as the implications of the Paris Agreement reverberated through businesses, industries, and investors.
“Companies continued to ratchet up their commitments and achievements on renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable supply chains, water and land stewardship, the circular economy, and other aspects of a sustainable enterprise,” according to GreenBiz. “Technology continued its inexorable march, accelerating sustainability solutions in energy, buildings, transportation, food, and just about everywhere else.”
However, global indicators continue to trend in troubling directions. Concentrations of carbon dioxide are unprecedented compared with the past 800,000 years according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, even after accounting for natural fluctuations. Global temperatures continue to rise, and other metrics—on coastal flooding, heat-related deaths, wildfires, polar sea ice, biodiversity, and more—are just as harrowing.
Suffice it to say that we have a major challenge on our hands. Of course, no one is going to solve climate change on their own. But if you’re thinking of starting an eco-friendly small business, you can at least do your part to start an environmentally conscious business. See below for ideas on eco-friendly businesses you could start in the next year.
Hopefully, these eco-friendly small business ideas have you excited about the possibilities—not only for profit but the pleasure of running a business that helps people lead greener lives and combining what you do with what you believe in. A value-led company is attractive to consumers—why not create one?