A majority of small businesses found sales of green products increased and outpaced traditional alternatives during the recession, a survey from Green America, EcoVentures International and Association for Enterprise Opportunity reports.
The three groups conducted the survey last summer and from the 1,300-plus businesses that responded, they found that the greener the product was, the more likely its sales increased. Furthermore, close to one-third of the respondents were classified under the “deep green” segment, and their sales increases were significantly more than those businesses that were classified under the “lighter green” segment.
Nearly 60 percent of all the businesses had expanded their products or services with green offerings and out of those, a majority said their investment in green products had paid off in terms of a boost in revenues. They also felt that adding green offerings to their product mix helped make them more competitive.
Three-fourths of all the small businesses surveyed said they plan to add more green products and services to their mix in the future.
The survey also found that over the last 10 years, the market for organic food grew 238 percent compared to non-organic food at 33 percent, and green buildings grew 1,700 percent compared to traditional construction which shrunk 17 percent.
Green America and its survey partners tapped large companies like Intuit, eBay and others to distribute the survey to their small business clients, to reach a cross-section of companies.
The study found 160 certifications for green products and more than 35 specialty trade industry associations that helped grow the green market.
It concludes that if small businesses don’t move to take advantage of the green business opportunities, particularly as large enterprises continue to leverage them, they will be left behind and will become disadvantaged in the emerging resource-constrained environment.
A research paper published this month suggests that manufacturers and retailers may be holding back on communicating their sustainability successes to customers. Meanwhile, the 5th Annual Tork Sustainability Study finds that 78 percent of US consumers buy green products and services, up from 69 percent in 2012.