Reading an Entrepreneur Magazine article on 10 green trends that will define opportunity next year, one sentence jumped out:
“Resource constraints are generating great business practices…and Sageworks, a North Carolina-based research firm, says that small-business profit margins are at a five-year high (6.2 percent on every dollar of sales) because of savvy cost-cutting practices.”
At the Green Business Bureau, we know that one of the easiest and most effective ways for small businesses to significantly cut costs is by going green. In fact, sustainable profitability is quickly becoming the catchphrase for businesses today, and it’s not all about the environment.
“The climate piece is secondary,” says Micah Kotch, director of operations of New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy. “The bottom line drives business decisions.”
What’s interesting is that it’s the practicalities of green that consumers are most interested in, too, not the greater global warming issue. One study showed that 87% of Americans say global warming isn’t the point of green business, it’s all about trash and waste, while another showed 12% of the population said “don’t waste” was the strongest message to get them to buy green and conserve. The practices consumers most want to see are (in order): recycling, no chemical waste, renewable energy, minimal product packaging, and sustainable life cycle.
So, we have a unique convergence of business needs and consumer demand for practical, straightforward green measures. And businesses that employ these sustainable measures, and can then leverage their green practices with effective marketing and messaging to their consumers stand to profit the most. Now is the time to act, though. Despite the healthy outlook, owners and operators shouldn’t stop the heavy lifting, cautions the same Entrepreneur article. “If you’re not thinking about all the ways to go green, you’re way behind the curve.”