Conscious consumption is a trend driven by younger generations who have pent-up demands for compostable and recycled products. And entrepreneurs who can offer high-end eco-friendly products will win big.
In a way, there has never been a better time to offer sustainable products. Consumers, particularly Gen Zers and Millennials, are demanding brands to embrace purpose and sustainability. And it has led to a striking surge in communicating sustainability of companies worldwide (1, 2).
Several entrepreneurs are gunning for eco-friendly offerings. It is a significant sentiment today. The environment-conscious movement spans different sectors, including green app development, green consulting, energy efficiency auditors, recycling businesses, and more. And it includes green products like toothpaste tablets, sustainable agrochemicals, compostable bamboo toothbrushes, refurbished and second-hand products, and even furniture made using materials like old fishing nets.
With the green movement getting traction, we can expect more companies to cater to the niche. It can include businesses offering recycled office supplies, non-toxic cleaners, green architecture services, and social innovation companies.
Moreover, young entrepreneurs can be trailblazers of the trend. Professionals such as engineers and accountants can start green consultancy businesses. Organic food delivery can also be a hit. In fact, we don’t have to think hard for a green business. It can range from green products to professional services such as solar panel installation (3).
Green Businesses Key Points
- There is a collaborative shift of preferences to eco-friendly products and services.
- We can expect more businesses to start catering to these demands.
- We can also witness more established organizations making green choices, posing new opportunities for new entrepreneurs.
- Green businesses are not limited to green products. Several young professionals are getting into offering green services. The same goes for accountants, architects, engineers, data analysts who can go into environmental-friendly ventures.
Green Business Opportunities for Aspiring Eco-Entrepreneurs
As green businesses are getting more popular, new investment opportunities are arising for eco-entrepreneurs. As we mentioned, the consumers’ demand primarily drives these businesses since they show more interest in services and products that incorporate environmentally-friendly manufacturing and packaging processes.
Notably, most of the services and products today are already green. Hence, if you are looking to start a business that aims towards saving energy, water, and other resources, you can’t run out of ideas. There are diverse green business options that you can venture into on a full-time or part-time basis and with a small investment (4, 5).
Green App Development
Suppose you prefer working in the tech world. In that case, you can contribute to the green revolution by developing an app or web portals that promote a green living sentiment via recycling and proper waste management.
Green app development is pretty promising in terms of income making as its potential is not about to go in vain shortly. In addition, existing businesses can also consider developing branded platforms as there is room to acquire more consumers for your offerings and cement their loyalty.
Multiple apps and web portals like Go Green, iRecycle, OLIO, Ecosia, and Litterrati, helping people live a sustainable and environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Generally, applications that offer information on how to recycle waste or what to purchase are quite popular.
Waste Management and Recycling Business
Recycling is an excellent step towards ensuring that toxic waste doesn’t end up in our landfills. The electronic goods recycling business is a lucrative area as old mobile phones, computers, fax machines, and even outdated tv sets can be used to make items that we can use elsewhere.
Moreover, you can consider offering pickup service for such electronics waste and deliver them to recyclers at a fee if you don’t want to offer a basic recycling service. For more information in this area, read our previous story, Waste Industry: Innovations and Business Opportunities.
Making Green Products
Another leading business idea in the green space is manufacturing eco-friendly products and selling them locally.
It can include products like:
- Eco-friendly Body Care Products: Lotions, soaps, cosmetics, and other cosmetics made without harsh and toxic chemicals.
- Eco-friendly Children Products: green games, toys, and clothes for kids.
- Non-toxic Cleaners: All the cleaning solutions without harmful chemicals.
- Organic Clothes: Offer clothes made without toxins.
- Eco-flooring: Offer environmentally-friendly and non-toxic hard flooring and carpets.
- Green Grocery or Restaurant: Offer fresh and organic food that is healthy for you and the planet. You can also offer coffee, tea, and other products made, grown by workers paid a living wage and healthy working conditions.
- Eco-friendly Furniture: You can make and sell furniture made from recycled products, forest-friendly woods, and organic materials without toxins.
- Eco-friendly Home Improvement Products: Offer pains, stains, sealers, and more without any harmful chemicals
- Green Architect: You can help to build efficient, green, and renewable homes and structures.
- Green Home Products: You can make and sell organic towels, sheets, non-toxic pans and pots, and more for a greener home.
- Green Office Supplies: You can also make and sell eco-friendly office supplies like recycled pens, papers, sticky notes, folders, and more.
Apart from that, you can also offer green services in areas like:
- Eco-friendly Transportation: You can offer green transportation services to get from A to B with a minimum global-warming footprint.
- Green Travel Agency: To help people plan vacations that don’t burden the planet or locals.
- Green Bank: Fair financial services and loans that can help build communities.
- Sustainable Financial Planner: To help people incorporate socially responsible investing concerns in their portfolios.
Setting up a green consultancy is another excellent business idea because more and more businesses and people are eager to go eco-friendly, but they don’t have adequate knowledge. Hence, as a consultant, you can help them create a concrete action plan by looking at their environment and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses.
One area where most businesses and individuals can benefit from green consulting is how much more energy they consume than they need for heating or cooling. Apart from consulting, a green event management service is also a lucrative business. You can see that each area of the event is executed in an environmentally friendly way.
Energy Efficiency Auditor
An excellent step towards ensuring energy efficiency is determining the amount of energy we use and sticking to it. However, not everyone understands its value. Hence, you can do well by setting up an auditing company that determines how much insulation business owners need and whether they adhere to it. It can also include services like when the light bulbs are due for a change and what type of programmable thermostats they require.
Other Lucrative Green Opportunities
Businesses can combine low-waste and minimalism trends with reusable containers. A startup Cadence (6), for instance, makes collectible magnetic capsules, durable containers made from recycled “ocean-bound plastic” to store everything from lotion to jewelry. Customers can also create their own color-coded collections with customized labels.
Businesses can leverage it in several ways:
- Requests for smaller and larger capsules: You can compete directly with Cadence and offer a broader range than what it is currently offering.
- Niche Down: Instead of offering storage capsules for general use, you can niche down and focus on containers designed specifically for pets, baby products, first aid, etc.
- Personal care brands can also design their own cute containers that customers can refill at in-store dispensers.
You can also apply this eco-friendly storage trend to the beverage and food industry, where the growth is already rising. A UK-based startup, Chilly’s sells high-end reusable water bottles. Notably, its revenue is already rising at about 283% 4-year CAGR.
Eliminating Plastic with Bars
Several personal care startups have started eliminating plastic by creating luxury shampoo bars, which are witnessing high demand.
Notably, shampoo bars are more cost-effective than conventional shampoo (7), and they boast only 8% of the carbon footprint of their liquid counterparts (8). We may soon see bar popularity spreading to lotions, conditioners, and facial care.
There is also a lucrative business opportunity to niche within the bar market, like luxury pet ranges, infant bars, etc. And as skincare, body care, and hair care science keep on taking off, businesses can also capitalize on new ingredient trends as they surface.
Businesses have made a fortune based on waste products, and Recycled-waste fabrics have already gained VC attention. Beyond Leather Materials, a startup based in Denmark, had secured about 2.2 million EUR over two seed funding rounds last year (11). Natural Fiber Welding, a US-based firm, pocketed over 15 million USD last month (12).
An attractive niche in the space is fitness products, as outdoor enthusiasts tend to be more environmentally conscious (13). Brands can capitalize on these new fabric trends in outdoor gear, and activewear can smash hits.
Sustainability Trend is Going Nowhere
What’s popular today may be old news by tomorrow. However, one trend that would stick around is sustainability. Consumers, especially Gen Zers and Millennials, are more concerned about the environment, and businesses are under increasing pressure to meet their demands (14, 15, 16).
At the same time, businesses must adapt to the right way to engage in the sustainability movement. It would be prudent to make certain that your actions back up whatever statements you make for the marketing. Because, when it comes to going green, talking is not enough. Consumers today can sniff whether the brands are walking the talk or not. Entrepreneurs will need to prove their authenticity and commitment to sustainability; otherwise, their reputation can go down real quick.
Nonetheless, as the number of environmentally conscious consumers will grow, businesses and investors will continue to grow. You can also choose to strive by aiming to make profit and revenue for stakeholders while also increasing the social good and mitigating climate issues. The green revolution is happening, and everyone from multinational organizations to emerging startups can capitalize on the trend.