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Make Money and a Difference with Go Green Business Ideas

written by: Shoshana Jackson•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/4/2011

Go green is the buzz these days. Small businesses that include home based businesses and large scale manufacturing companies are looking for alternatives that are environmentally friendly. This article puts together five green business ideas that entrepreneurs can capitalize on.

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    Why Go Green?

    Starting a Green Business The go green bandwagon is not going away and is sure to stay. However, trends and opportunities for greener and environmentally friendly products and services are definitely hot. The most obvious reason for a business to go green is to safeguard and protect the environment and its natural resources. Other go green green business ideas to improve your carbon footprint are:

    • To set a positive example for employees that increases employee loyalty and retention.

    • To gain a competitive advantage by differentiating the business as an environmentally friendly business.

    • To provide a pure, clean and healthy environment.

    • To improve efficiency.

    • To lower operating costs.

    • To get tax benefits.

    This article puts together a list of five go green business ideas that entrepreneurs can exploit.

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    Go Green Business Ideas

    1. Low Carbon, Local and Organic Grocery Business: Nowadays consumers read labels and understand the impact of what they are eating and are also interested in how food effects the environment. Today about 75 percent of American shoppers buy organic groceries and toiletries. Various questions before buying a product like: Has the product been grown or formulated using organic farming or methods? Most people today are keen on knowing how food is grown, its environmental impact and passage from local market to the end consumer.

    Thus, to help consumers make smart and green shopping decisions, pertinent green information on labels is needed. Labeling with a carbon footprint percentage has covered many products in the United Kingdom and is sure to spread in United States as well.

    The go green business ideas associated with low carbon, local and organic groceries includes creation of low carbon products and brands, importing products from Third World Countries with a smaller carbon print, producing local organic foods and products on a small or large scale or researching the field so as to incorporate those ideas into established businesses in the United States. Another opportunity associated to this business line is to provide an auditing and tracking facility for carbon footprints of these products. Various websites on the Internet explore the opportunities of this transition.

    2. Green Shopping Bags or Reusable Bag Production: The aim of these businesses would be to replace the disposable plastic shopping bags with reusable and renewable bags to carry groceries and other shopping items. According to Greenwire Environment and Energy Publishing, shoppers worldwide are using 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags every year which means 150 plastic bags a year per person.

    Plastic bags are made of polyethylene, which comes from non-renewable sources like petroleum. Thus, these bags cannot be reused. Also plastic bags are indestructible and take over hundreds of years to break down in the environment. Additionally, fine particles of plastic are finding their way into the food chain through fish and sea food which is consumed by humans.

    Society today is learning about the disadvantageous impact of plastic bags and is adopting more eco-friendly alternatives like reusable bags which are made out of natural fibers like jute, cotton, canvas and hemp. Many stores are increasing their brand recognition by giving away trendy green bags and building up customer loyalty.

    One could opt to produce low cost green shopping bags or create reusable fold-up logo bags that are easy to carry. Additionally, entrepreneurs can also think of designing trendy green bags which are acceptable to all ages and tastes of people.

    Please continue to Page 2 for more business go green ideas.

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    Many consumers are going green their environment and live a green lifestyle. You can help them by starting a green business. By providing items, such as green or organic home decor and furniture, green cars, green building certification or green hotels you can capitalize on the opportunities available. Green banking, networking and memorials are some other go green businesses ideas that provide consumers with alternatives to traditional small businesses of this type.
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    More Go Green Business Ideas

    3. Green Lifestyle Businesses: After groceries and bags, just about anything we do in our routine life can be transited to the green world. One could start a small business that is created around the green lifestyle. Some examples of green lifestyle that have already been capitalized are:

    • Green Furniture – Companies like Vivavi which is a furniture and home furnishing store, offers sustainable and contemporary products and services using non-toxic, organic, recycled and reclaimed materials.
    • Green Networking – A platform like Green Singles where singles can network with like minded individuals who share the same values and interests like holistic living, vegetarianism, animal rights, organic food, alternative medicine, etc.
    • Green Hotels – Start one or for now make sure you only stay in a green hotel.
    • Green Banking – Banks and financial service companies have also taken initiatives to go green. ShoreBank Pacific is the first such commercial bank. Many companies provide socially responsible credit cards.
    • Green Home – Become a contractor to build green homes.

    4. Green Car Dealership: In the world of high rising oil prices, green car dealerships would aim to sell fuel efficient cars that pollute less and are environmentally friendly. Many entrepreneurs have already capitalized on this opportunity and are finding grand profits as the United States market is mature enough to understand the benefits of an eco-friendly car. In fact, sales of green cars have been rising at the same level as oil prices.

    With the ongoing research, many new technologies have reached the market. Toyota’s Prius is only a start to a new world of green cars that are coming in all sizes, shapes, and colors from different manufacturers. With many new models of hybrid and electric vehicles being produced, there are many opportunities available in this market

    If interested in this line of business, one could either join one of the big and established auto manufacturers or could work with a small green auto start up. Various opportunities are available if someone is interested in marketing and commercializing this car technology. If there are budget constraints, one could start up an online green car dealership which would provide access to a variety of green cars while avoiding the risk and investment of a car parking (car parking?). As technology improves, there would be a bigger range of variety, needs and demand.

    5. Green Building Certification Business: The aim of this business would be to rate and measure the effect of green initiatives made in a building or home. To ensure that buildings are green, one may have to get them verified and certified. For this, many rating systems like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) have been provided in United States.

    Many opportunities lie in this field of business which include the creation of a business that helps green builders through the LEED certification process, develop a business that commissions green buildings, train teams to maintain these green buildings and perform regular inspections.


    Photo Credit: Christopher Meder