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Three out of four small businesses reported that, unlike much of the economy, sales for green products and services actually increased over the course of the recent economic downturn. Among those businesses, the greener the company’s practices, the higher their sales, according to a new survey conducted by Green America (GA), EcoVentures International (EVI) and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO).
In a report presenting the survey findings, the three groups note that, over the past 10 years, the market for green products and services has expanded dramatically. For example, the green building market has increased by 1,700 percent while the conventional building market has contracted by 17 percent. The organic food market has increased by 238 percent in comparison to the non-organic food market’s expansion of only 33 percent.
Of the respondents that reported gains during the recession, the more green the company, the more likely it was to report increased sales. The survey segmented the 1,305 respondents into three groups based on the green attributes of their products and services. The “deep green” segment in the survey (the 27 percent of business owners whose answers reflected the most intense embrace of “green”) reported stronger performance compared to their “light green” peers (38 percent of respondents) on nearly every dimension tested. There also was a “medium green” segment accounting for 35 percent of surveyed businesses.
Nearly six out of 10 (58 percent) small businesses said that they had been able to expand their products and services with green offerings during the recent economic downturn. Of this group, 84 percent said their investment in these new green products and services had been rewarded with increased sales.
“This survey shows that green business is not just about feeling good, it positively impacts an organization’s bottom line,” said survey analyst Dr. Julie Cincotta, principal, CLA Organizational Solutions, LLC. “Green products and services are in growing demand by the American public. Small business operators agree that green practices and products can be the key to more sales and bigger profits.”
Tammy Halevy, SVP, New Initiatives, AEO, said: “This survey and report clearly demonstrate that adopting green practices provides even the smallest businesses an opportunity to grow. These insights into what green strategies and practices actually contribute to profitable growth will be invaluable to business owners.”