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What is Green Business?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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The term “green business” is used in discussions of businesses and business practices which are viewed to be environmentally sound. In the early 21st century, many companies began capitalizing on growing consumer desire for sustainable business by “greening” their practices to make them more environmentally friendly, and a number of entrepreneurs sometimes known as ecopreneurs opened businesses with a green slant. Today, green business is an extremely profitable branch of the business world, and it hosts a range of companies, from prestigious multinational companies to small, locally based companies.

In order to be considered a green business, a company must use practices which are viewed as sustainable and environmentally friendly. These practices might include the use of organic and natural products to build its factories, tighter protections against emissions, and environmentally responsible sourcing of supplies. For example, a green clothing business would seek out organic, fair-trade cotton to promote an environmentally friendly image, and it might have a factory with a living roof, or power gained from solar panels. Many green businesses are also concerned about human and animal exploitation, and they make an attempt to create cruelty free products and to pay their workers well in addition to providing them with benefits.

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The goal of a green business is to keep its environmental footprint small, reducing waste and reusing materials as much as possible. Many use innovative building techniques for their facilities which are designed to promote energy efficiency, along with building materials which are environmentally friendly like panels fabricated from recycled materials. These companies also encourage their workers to think about the environment when they generate printed material and think about new products.

A green business can sell all sorts of things. Many car manufacturers, for example, have green model factories and offices to convince their target consumers that they are concerned about the environment. Many green businesses also offer green products, ranging from composting toilets to green architecture. When a company offers environmentally products, many consumers also assume that the company itself is environmentally responsible, as its products reflect a concern about the environment.

The success of green business has shown that it is economically feasible and in fact very sensible to do business in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way. It has also encouraged the growth of initiatives which are designed to benefit the environment, from carbon trading to tax breaks for people who make energy-efficient modifications to their homes. However, it has also given rise to “greenwashing,” a trend exhibited by companies which want to capitalize on the green revolution in business without actually doing the deed. When businesses market themselves aggressively as green, you may want to do some deeper research to ensure that they are not greenwashing in an attempt to win your dollars.

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submariner
Post 3

@ Alchemy- That is an interesting business concept. I would be open to leasing an Air conditioner form a green building supply business. If my lease could include all regular scheduled maintenance and I had the option to pay the entire lease term up front, I think it would be a great idea. Time will only tell what kind of business ideas people come up with.

Alchemy
Post 2

I have a feeling that the next big step in the evolution of green business will be business that offer services in sectors that were once strictly product oriented. Businesses that sell things like carpeting, air conditioners, appliances, and other large consumer goods, will begin to offer services that lease these goods. This type of business has the benefits of controlling resources throughout its life cycle, thus making products much more environmentally friendly.

Take for example carpet manufacturers. Carpet manufacturing can produce a lot of waste that is expensive to dispose of but some manufacturers are attempting to make carpets that cost less while still offering customers value and quality. One of the world's largest carpet manufacturers has switched to

sustainable manufacturing. The company has installed solar power in its California factory, uses landfill methane to power its Georgia plants, and is working towards a zero waste manufacturing process. In the process, the company has made hundreds of millions by increasing its margins and attracted new customers.
Amphibious54
Post 1

Quite a few schools offer green business programs. I am a student at Arizona State University and they offer a business administration program that focuses on sustainability. My fiancée is finishing her associates at University of Phoenix and they offer a green business management program as well. It seems like most businesses are beginning to realize that being green can be financially beneficial.

The word "green" is a hot buzzword and can generate consumer interest, making it a great marketing tool. Besides marketing, going green can also help a business stabilize energy and waste management costs. Being "green" is no longer synonymous with granola, the communes, and hemp sandals.

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