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The Big Green Opportunity for Small Businesses
By Justin Bilancieri

The fact that “green” or socially responsible businesses are doing well is no surprise to many. Most of us inherently want to see a healthy planet and we know, intuitively, that good business practices can help make this a reality.

Great News: The greener the business the greener the bottom line!

According to the recently released Small Business Sustainability Report 2013, there has been high growth in the green market segments.

  • Between 2002 and 2011, imports of fair trade certified foods grew 1,442% while overall food imports declined 38%.
  • The U.S. organic food category grew at a rate of 238% compared to 33% growth for the overall food market from 2003 to 2011.
  • During the same time period, the organic, non-food segment grew 400% while the equivalent overall non-food market grew just 33%.

And it doesn’t stop there!

  • From 2001 to 2010, assets in Sustainable, Responsible, Impact (SRI) investment portfolios grew 32% while overall investment assets grew 27%.
  • The green building segment grew 1,700% while the overall construction market contracted 17% between 2006 and 2011.
  • The use of renewable energy grew 456% from 2002 to 2011, while use of non-renewable energy fuels fell 3.2%.

The future looks bright green! Since 2001, the number of U.S. green industry associations has doubled and the number of U.S. green certifications has grown 180%. The number of Green-oriented MBA programs grew 300% from 2006 to 2011, and green jobs are growing at twice the rate of conventional jobs.

Among the survey respondents, 79% strongly agreed that offering green products and services gave their business a competitive edge. Firms claim that “going green” eased the pinch of the recent recession. Overall it appears that the greener the practices the higher the sales.

Mention of specific companies or securities should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


Posted: July 15, 2013