Small businesses and independent entrepreneurs are making the biggest impact in reducing the carbon footprint of business, as stated in a report by Changemakers.com. “Entrepreneurs are the solution to global warming. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the forefront of saving the environment,” the site writes.
These small businesses are known as SMEs and defined as non-subsidiary independent firms which employ under 200 employees. The majority of green businesses are SMEs, and include industries such as alternative energy companies, green retail outlets, organic food growers, and locally sourced craft sellers. It seems businesses with a strong environmental conscience that perform eco-friendly practices, have fewer employees and have a lower turnover than bigger businesses. So, why are small businesses becoming more sustainable and what are their eco-friendly practices?
Why Go Green?
The increase of small companies using more green business practices is driven by consumer demand. The fact is, the consumer is developing a greater environmental conscience, and in order to meet their needs it is imperative that small companies uphold environmentally-friendly values. With more and more customers thinking about the environment when they shop, businesses now need to cater for the eco-friendly consumer. Customers are also more willing to pay more for green products.
The Big Green Opportunity report indicates that premium pricing can be attached to a green product or service. “In both survey data and interviews, green business owners reported that, where a high trust relationship develops between a conscious consumer and an authentically green business, those consumers are willing to pay a premium for truly green offerings,” states Globalwarmingisreal.com. If by adopting green values, and reflecting these values in their business models and products, small businesses are becoming more profitable, reducing the effects of global warming is clearly not the only reason why small businesses are going green. Eco-friendly practices could actually help a business increase their annual turnover.
Green Business Practices
Small business owners, or entrepreneurs wishing to establish eco-friendly practices should also consider working with companies who hold similar values. Web hosting company 1&1, for example, possess data centers which effectively lower heat loss by 20%. 1&1 also regularly purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to help fund renewable energy projects. Furthermore, the company sends all billing statements to customers via email, which undoubtedly saves a considerable amount of paper. An eco-friendly business should not just promote green values or products, it should perform eco-friendly and sustainable practices in general. All decisions should take the environment into account, and the management of the business should be done with a green conscience.