Green Business Bureau green entrepreneurs
Yvonne’s General Cleaning Company is a minority women owned cleaning business that cleans residential homes and commercial businesses. Company President, Yvonne Anderson has been in the business for over fifteen years and customer satisfaction is what she and her team aim for on a daily basis. Yvonne’s General Cleaning Company’s track record has always been in good standing and they give their residential customers senior citizens discounts rates.
Yvonne’s General Cleaning Company uses natural products, says Ms. Anderson. “Some of the items that we use to promote for green cleaning would be vinegar (as a cleaner) mixed with lemon (as a scent). Baking soda is another product that acts as a scrubbing paste and is very effective in removing grime in stains. When we purchase products we would make sure that the items have the environmentally safe symbols.”
When we asked Yvonne why her company chose to go green and join the Green Business Bureau, here’s what she shared with us: “We went to the Green Business Bureau (GBB) to find companies and people that are green and want to use products that will help our environment. We realize that people are being more conscious of what products they use. The Green Business Bureau provides companies like Yvonne’s General Cleaning Company with an opportunity to get exposure while uniting others with the same environmentally conscious thought process. I want my company to have the reputation that we are green. The new trend is to go green and I believe that this will be an everlasting trend. One of the reasons we choose GBB is that it promotes environmentally safe products and encourages the use of products that would be harmless to our customers. We like to expose the use of natural and affordable products for our customers. We would like to create a great demand that would encourage others to think and be green. We are interested in global advertisement that would prompt others to use our services.”
We asked Yvonne to tell us about her/her team’s experience with the GBB. “We chose the Green Business Bureau because of its reputation, and its reputation to advertise our company. GBB was one of the few companies that took a personal interest in our company. With GBB we always get a live voice on the phone and not a systemic robotic voice. It is that in-touch communication service that GBB conveys which was of great interest to us. GBB is also a well known company that is constantly expanding. We believe that GBB will promote recognition and financial growth to our company.”
Green businesses are fast becoming the most flourishing business now days. And with the passing of days entrepreneurs are not only going towards green business like producing green products but are also transforming their existing businesses into green. That is they are adopting green practices for their business. And it is a fact that when a business turns green or even when a new green business starts then the most important thing that is required is guidance on green practices and methods. There are specialized Green Consultants or Eco Consultants who help in setting up a green business. As knowing ones business thoroughly does not mean that an entrepreneur will be aware of the nuances of running a green business.
Thus keeping this increasing requirement in mind there are various green training programs for those who aspire to be a Green Consultant or even for entrepreneurs who would like to know for themselves all about green business and start on their own. There are even training programs for those who are working in a green business like the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program. This program imparts training to the workers on different green skill-sets like installing solar panels or retrofit buildings with energy-efficient lighting.
The green training programs give guideline on a number of things starting from simple things like shopping with re-usable bags or put plants at work place so that it absorbs indoor pollution to more grave matters like conservation of energy or waste reduction. After all “SAVE ENERGY… SAVE ENVIRONMENT…” is the most important catch word of the green enthusiasts.
There are lots of private organizations that undertake such training programs. And very few colleges that have started imparting training on green processes in respect to different businesses. Keeping in mind the increasing demand for skilled professionals more and more organizations and colleges should come forward to impart training on green business.
Now a green business training program generally covers subjects like –
- Imparting understanding of sustainability;
- How resources can be protected for future;
- Different ways to achieve waste reduction;
- Utilization of green power like the solar power and the wind power;
- Recycling programs;
- Environmentally friendly processes;
- Eco-friendly purchases;
- Waste reduction processes or methods;
- Possible ways of pollution control;
These are some basic knowledge that is imparted by various green training programs. After this comes the business specific training.
We all know that the requirements and running process of a real estate business is very different from that of a construction business or a hotel business. Yet each business has their very own individual methods of running green practices. This is something which also needs to be learned and is also a part of a green training program. But as said earlier these are business specific green training.
We support green businesses and try to help in green training programs in every possible way as we envision that businesses worldwide will recognize the benefits of running a business that abides by environmental laws and practices.
With the onset of green policies and regulations initiated by the government and companies, green training programs are necessary in order to achieve goals. Indeed, being a green advocate or worker requires a change in the technology that will be used in the construction of the house, in the proper disposal of garbage, in the wind farms among others. But more importantly, greening involves a lot of mindset change, retooling and re-training in order to properly utilize the technology, systems and procedures available to the providers as well as the end users.
President Barack Obama included in his stimulus package a funding of $50B for clean energy projects. The project is supposed to create significant number of new jobs and cost-efficient technologies in response to tens of thousands jobs that were lost as instability strike the country’s economy. This is just one of the President’s measures to help the country adapt to the recession plaguing the US economy. As more and more citizens struggle to live within reduced means, clean air projects are deemed to stabilize spending due to reduced energy costs. This will also allow citizens to maximize valuable dollars in other necessities. Recycling, renewable energy, hybrid cars are just a few ways to promote clean air projects.
However, many sectors are saying that the number of green workers is not enough to sustain the projects. They say that green training programs need to be institutionalized first particularly in the academic sector in order to make the project possible. Specialized curriculum needs to be established so that new and skilled green workers are generated from fresh graduates. Reports estimate that it would only take about 2 years of specialized training to be considered an expert in the field.
However, there are a lot of trainings being implemented in small communities. And if there is one major impact that the clean air project has created, it is the involvement of youth in the training programs in small communities. Even at the start-up, the youth was the main target group of the project. In particular, training is aimed at disadvantaged and at-risk youth. This is a best way to assist youth who have lost track of their lives reconnect to the community and hence their individual lives. Through immediate employment, trained youth are able to become economically independent and productive members of the community. This is attributed to the high need of green skilled workers. Not to mention that compensation is generally regarded as competitive in the industry. State program offers $10000 training funds for unemployed workers. This is also applicable for middle aged workers who have lost their jobs in the wake of recession.
Green training programs include installing solar panels, repairing wind turbines, production of bio-fuels, and other forms of renewable energy. Home insulation, green procurement and coal heating among others are in demand to local residents and companies alike.
The stimulus project for clean energy project is still new. Success stories and best known methods are still yet to be achieved and replicated. The perpetrators of this cause such as the academe, government sectors, state programs, local community projects down to individual efforts need to stay focused towards the goal. Different sectors of the country need to work together so as to eliminate dependence on foreign energy sources.
Green training programs address the increasing rate of disadvantaged sectors in the society and at the same time addresses the demand for green workers all over the country.
Green and socially responsible entrepreneurship is about creating or developing new ideas and running an enterprise focused on profit generation while contributing and/or promoting positive impact in the environment. With the advent of green practices and its popularity among consumers, more and more budding entrepreneurs are starting up with green business ideas in mind. However, starting a green business is a difficult task for entrepreneurs whose only purpose is to entice customers to frequent their shops. This is because efforts will immediately fall apart as there is no innate commitment to save the environment.
In order to sustain the green label of your business in the minds of your consumers, a green entrepreneur need to constantly look for ways to eliminate harmful effects in the environment. This means that greening a business is a lifelong task. It requires real commitment and passion in order to be labeled as a green entrepreneur.
Greening is not all work. It helps sustain your future business by significantly reducing costs and expenses plus ensuring sustainable profit owed to extensive market that supports green causes.
Perhaps you are thinking of starting your own green business and stuck in indecisive wandering where you should start. Here are some tips to guide you in your decision making process.
1. List your green strategies. It is true to say that what is best for you may not be best for me. In the same way that green entrepreneurship strategies, may work for others but not exactly work for you. It is not advisable to imitate green practices employed by other entrepreneurs within your industry as you will risk being labeled as a second best. This is aside from the fact that it may actually hurt your newly-established business in the process. Delve deeper into your cause and you will definitely find lots of green business ideas in mind.
2. Be creative. You need to keep in mind that becoming an entrepreneur requires the ability to formulate creative ideas out of what seems mediocre and make it look extraordinary in the eyes of the costumers. For instance, an old piece of furniture can be recycled to become a cutting edge design inside your establishment. Or you may also try using renewable energy in all aspects of your business. You may also reduce water consumption by using washable plates instead of Styrofoam particularly in the restaurant business.
3. Determine your one BIG green idea. This may come in forms of paperless office scheme where you will encourage your employees to use technology to create and save files and any other methods that will need paper usage. You may also start up a virtual office and employ telecommuting system instead of building a new office building. This increases carbon in the environment because of gas emissions utilized in transportation by your employees and customers. You only need to branch out ideas out of your own BIG idea. If you do not have one, cull out from established standard green methods. You may even hire a consultant to help you decide the green tagline for your business.
All these and more are strategies that you can take into account to become a green entrepreneur. Along the process, you may not even need to advertise your green practices as customers are quick to determine invaluable efforts to save the environment.
Some of these eco-entrepreneurs you’ve likely heard of, some of them you surely haven’t, but all of them deserve kudos for starting up companies that strive for sustainability.
Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia
Patagonia has been a leader in sustainability since Chouinard spun it off from his original climbing-gear company in the 1970s. Having pioneered the use of organic cotton and recycled-plastic fleece, the outdoor retailer continues to innovate other eco-friendly materials, and even takes old clothes back for recycling. The company also powers all of its buildings with renewables, prints on recycled paper, and highlights activists and eco-campaigns in its catalogs.
Nell Newman, Newman’s Own Organics
If you think Paul is dreamy, wait ’til you meet his daughter Nell. Her company, one of the most recognizable organic brands, came to life after she cooked up an organic Thanksgiving meal for her dad, served with a pitch that his Newman’s Own line should add organic goodies to its offerings. It worked: Newman’s Own Organics was launched as a division of Newman’s Own in 1993, then split off to become an independent company in 2001 — but it’s stuck to the model of steering profits to charitable causes, including wildlife preservation and organic-agriculture research.
Ray Anderson, Interface
This carpet king wrote the book on sustainability, literally: Mid-Course Correction: Toward a Sustainable Enterprise chronicles his efforts to green his company. As an early adopter of the sustainability mind-set, Anderson set the lofty goal of eliminating all of Interface‘s negative environmental impacts by 2020. The innovations unrolled on his watch — including recyclable, modular, and eco-fiber carpets — have laid the green groundwork for countless other companies.
Janice Masoud, Under the Nile
Prompted by her own children’s allergic reactions to the dyes, pesticides, and other toxics in most conventionally manufactured clothing, apparel designer Janice Masoud (pictured with her husband and business partner Mohamed) decided to take matters into her own hands and launch a line of organic clothing for tots. Since starting Under the Nile in 1998, Masoud has been adding more and more items — including blankets and soft toys — to its inventory, all made with 100 percent organic Egyptian cotton. Under the Nile products have now found their way into major chain stores like Target.
Jeffrey Hollender, Seventh Generation
Seventh Generation, founded by Hollender in 1988, is fast becoming a household name in greener cleaning, offering an alternative to the industry norm of chlorine-bleached virgin-paper products and toxic detergents. And if that weren’t enough, the company has a new state-of-the-art green HQ near downtown Burlington, Vt.
Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan, New Belgium Brewing
We’re only too happy to drink to this craft brewer, whose green cred overrunneth. The first beer maker to power all of its electrical operations with wind, New Belgium also runs its trucks on biodiesel, treats its wastewater on site, and has dramatically cut its water use. The Colorado-based company — started by husband-and-wife team Lebesch and Jordan in their basement in 1991 — just released its first organic beer. New Belgium not only gives employees free bikes, but also promotes cycling in the broader community with its Tour de Fat festival, named after its popular Fat Tire ale.
Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm
In 1983, Stonyfield Farm started as part of a seven-cow organic farming school. Today, the company, known best for its yogurt, is one of the biggest moo-vers and shakers in the organic dairy industry, pulling in about $260 million in sales each year. At the head of that growth has been President and “CE-Yo” Gary Hirshberg, an environmental activist, windmill-maker, author, and entrepreneur who joined Stonyfield just months after it was founded. He’s now also putting his business smarts to work getting O’Naturals, an all-natural fast-food chain, up and running, and launching Climate Counts, a nonprofit that rates corporations on their efforts to fight climate change.
Michael Gordon and Vaughan Lazar, Pizza Fusion
A good organic pizza is hard to find, but if Michael Gordon and Vaughan Lazar have their way, one will be arriving at your door in a Prius soon. Their Fort Lauderdale-based company, Pizza Fusion, delivers organic pizzas in hybrids, a concept that is catching on fast. Since its flagship store opened last year, the business has spun off more than 50 franchises in seven U.S. states. Pizza Fusion stores are built according to LEED standards and powered with 100 percent wind energy, and their customers are encouraged to return their pizza boxes for recycling, giving credence to their motto: “Saving the Earth, One Pizza at a Time.”
Colin Crooks, Green-Works
Colin Crooks — “arguably the U.K.’s most successful social entrepreneur” — started Green-Works with a dual purpose: keeping large furniture out of landfills and helping charitable groups. Through programs that refurbish, recycle, or reuse businesses’ castoff items, the company provides low-cost furniture to schools and charities, while employing homeless, disabled, and other underemployed populations. Since 2001, Green-Works has kept more than 20,000 tons of unwanted furniture from being trashed.
Gary Erickson, Clif Bar
Clif Bar not only makes a dang good array of energy snacks using 70 percent organic ingredients, it also keeps on greening its operations. The company uses recycled paper and nontoxic inks, focuses on reducing manufacturing and packaging waste, and participates in global-warming awareness campaigns. In his new book Raising the Bar, Erickson describes how his company evolved out of his mother’s kitchen, where he launched it in 1992, to become one of the fastest-growing private firms in the U.S.
Sean O’Hea, Vehizero
It might not have the market clout of Toyota, but Sean O’Hea’s up-and-coming Mexico-based company has high hopes for its lineup of industrial hybrids. Beginning with a one-ton delivery-type truck called the ECCO, Vehizero started tapping into the rapidly expanding market for cleaner vehicles just last year, primarily in Mexico City. Its hybrid truck reduces fuel use by some 50 percent or more and pollutes much less than conventional vehicles. Vehizero plans to roll out more hefty hybrids soon, including a taxi, a larger truck, and a 100-passenger bus.
Joseph Whinney, Theo Chocolate
Theo Chocolate, based in Seattle, is one tasty answer to the problems posed by industrial chocolate. Founder Whinney witnessed the effects of unfair, unsustainable cocoa trading as a conservation volunteer in Central America and envisioned a much different model for his company. Today, Theo is the only organic chocolate roaster in the United States and was the first U.S. company to use fair-trade certified cocoa beans in its confections. Sweet!
Jigar Shah, SunEdison
Since opening its doors in 2003, SunEdison has become the largest supplier of solar energy in the United States. Under the leadership of biz-savvy CEO Shah, who left BP Solar to bask in the rays of his own Sun, the company gives big businesses a win-win deal: SunEdison installs and maintains solar systems on their facilities with no upfront costs — just a 10-plus year contract with fixed power rates.
Martin Ernegg, Zelfo Australia
Seven years ago, Ernegg patented Zelfo as a crazy-useful plastic material made from high-cellulose fibers, including hemp, sugarcane, and waste paper. The process for making and molding Zelfo products, which doesn’t use any glues, resins, or toxics, results in a versatile wood-like plastic that can be shaped into just about anything, including musical instruments, furniture, dishes, and more. One popular Zelfo product is a 100 percent hemp didgeridoo. What’s not to love? Oh, and the company is also carbon-neutral and uses veggie oil and solar for most of its power.
John Mackey, Whole Foods Market
A major player in the sustained growth of the organic market, Whole Foods sprang from humble natural-food roots to become the world’s leading natural and organic supermarket with sales of $5.6 billion in 2006. Mackey has led the company through its massive expansion and its adoption of humane animal-treatment standards for its suppliers, as well as its purchase of wind-power offsets for 100 percent of the electricity used in its North American stores. (Of course, he also led Whole Foods’ controversial buyout of Wild Oats, and he got nailed earlier this year for some outlandish sockpuppeting.)