As we steadily march through the 21st century, setting up a green business is growing more popular. Not only does it help the environment, but it plays into the consumer mindset.
Now, I’ve given a few reasons why businesses should be green in the past. But I’m not sure if I really touched on why it’s important and how some try to “game the system” of being eco-friendly.
And yes, there are some who try to convince consumers of going green when they truly are not as sustainable as they want you to believe.
What is a Green Business?
A green business is one that utilizes eco-friendly, or sustainable, practices to have as little impact on the environment as possible. These businesses utilize green methods ranging from using recyclable materials to going so far as to mounting solar panels.
Not only do practices like this improve sustainability for the future, but it also engages the new generation of consumer.
And that’s where some of the problem lies…in greenwashing. I’ll go over a bit more of that in a moment.
But for the most part, a lot of companies are dedicated to eco-friendly business practices. And these are the ones who should be lauded as leaders.
5 Major Green Business Examples
While small businesses can easily do things that make an impact on the effects of global emissions and trash, some of the larger corporations are taking things a step further.
That’s because some of these corporations have a great deal of money to invest in being a green business. And with consumers putting more emphasis on eco-friendliness, more major corps will start converting or they will lose customers.
For some reason, IKEA has been one of the first companies I envision when thinking about green business. Part of this is because I remember when IKEA installed solar panels across the roof of one of their buildings before it was incredibly popular.
But that’s only part of it.
IKEA is also investing $220 million in several sustainability projects such as additional green energy and reforestation. And that’s not to mention moving manufacturing to renewable and recycled materials.
One of the more interesting things I saw at the beginning of 2020 was Coca-Cola’s commitment to sustainability.
If you don’t know, plastic bottles make up a major portion of pollution, especially in the ocean. Nowadays, Coke is focusing on biodegradable bottles made from plant-based materials.
The idea is to have a bottle that will degrade in one year as opposed to floating in the Pacific Ocean for the next 100.
In mid-2020, Home Depot announced its dedication to eco-friendly business practices by shifting focus to a few different elements.
First off, the company goals include either acquiring or producing at least 335 megawatts of power through renewable sources. This is enough to power some 90,000 homes.
The company also plans on pushing a more green business by getting rid of expanded polystyrene foam and polyvinyl chloride film from band packaging over the next few years.
Or, Styrofoam and PVC.
GreenGeeks Web Hosting
Since I work closely with GreenGeeks, obviously the company would make this list. But let me break down specifics as to what makes this a great green business.
- GreenGeeks purchases 3x the energy the datacenters use from renewable sources and feeds it back into the grid. Meaning they pay for their own power plus two other similarly sized web hosts through wind energy.
- Most employees are remote and often working from home. So, the overhead energy usage for the day-to-day activities of the company is extremely low.
- There is very little in way of paper and office supply usage. For instance, the only paper I’ve seen from the company was my tax information and contract. Everything else is digital. Which means trash and waste of any kind is virtually non-existent.
It’s exceptionally easy for a strictly online company to be a green business. Though, not every Internet-based organization is as green. For starters, I know several that have large office facilities…which can be wasteful when considering the power usage alone.
Rounding out these examples of a green business is that of Mickey D’s. McDonald’s plans to reduce emissions from restaurants by more than a third by 2030.
This includes things like solar panels, green sources for packaging, and building materials to maximize energy efficiency within establishments.
When you consider the sheer worldwide enterprise of McDonald’s, even the slightest adjustments on a global scale would have a profound impact.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is when brands or people deliver a false belief of being eco-friendly when they clearly are not. It’s derived from “whitewashing,” which means to mislead with information.
The idea is to engage the eco-minded audience, consumers, and voters to behave a certain way based on the appearance of being “more green” even though actions are to the contrary.
A current example of this is how Donald Trump touts as being the most eco-friendly president since Roosevelt, even though he has removed us from the Paris Agreement, reduced restrictions on air pollution, and has opened the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drill for oil.
Among other things.
Another example is how some small businesses will call themselves, “green” even though all they did was replace lightbulbs with LED alternatives.
Before you fall for greenwashing, take a closer look at behaviors and factual information regarding the brand or person.
Take me, for example. I share the practicality of engaging in some green practices. I don’t see a lot of things as being practical to the everyday homeowner. Especially when you consider a lot of the costs rolled into being fully eco-friendly.
But, I tell you all that upfront.
Why Does Having a Green Business Really Matter?
Like I demonstrated in my list of practical reasons to have a green business, it’s mostly centered around money. Not only does being eco-friendly help you reduce expenses, but consumers will often spend more money with your company.
However, it goes a bit deeper than that.
When major companies, like the ones I mentioned above, start investing and moving to greener practices, it makes a definite impact. Due to sheer size alone, many of these organizations can make massive changes to the environment with just the slightest of adjustments.
For instance, there would be far, far less plastic pollution if every company decided to roll with plant-based bottles or utensils. And this says nothing about AirCarbon products that dissolve in water.
And when a small business puts more effort into being green, it creates a ripple effect throughout its location.
That’s one less piece of trash you see floating down a river. It’s one less bag blowing in the wind. Or, it’s one less food container sitting in the gutter of a busy avenue.
Do You Have a Real Green Business?
Before you tout that you have a green business, make sure you’re not greenwashing your consumers. Thanks to social media, they’ll catch on rather quickly.
Do your part and be realistic with what you provide. Some of the smallest things you do today can have a massive impact on the next fiscal year.
Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.