Doing Green Business Part I: Personal Efforts. Sustainability efforts have positively infiltrated economies throughout the world over the last decade. Companies, both small and large, have adapted business goals and values to be in line with the bottom line of sustainability: the ability for current plus future generations of people to interact progressively with their environment and economy. The growth and presence of businesses and consumers on social media has made incorporating sustainability into business practices essential; many diligent consumers are now looking for “sustainable”, “renewable”, “recyclable” products. However, “doing green business” is much more than purchasing water bottles made from recycled plastics or shopping at the local farmer’s market – “doing green business” can mean actively investing in green technologies or businesses, effectively and economically understanding commercial pollution and creating solutions, or furthering green business in less developed places.
There are vast amounts of stocks and bonds related to sustainability in the markets today. From sustainable agriculture, to small energy start-ups, the market has begun to harvest the new financial trend of banking on sustainability. According to Peter Sopher, a research analyst with the Environmental Defense Fund, there are four methods an individual can employ to personally “do green business” from his article “4 Tips To Help You Invest in the Low-Carbon Economy”: (1) Climate/Green bonds, (2) Equities, (3) Index Funds, and (4) Yieldcos.
Climate and green bonds are used exclusively to finance new and existing climate or environmental sustainability projects.” – Sopher
In the green market, like any market, there is risk involved if your choose to turn your personal green efforts to investments. Sopher asserts, “You limit risk by selecting the right technology or venture to back before making your investment.” Researching, for example, the overall clean energy space sector (e.g. Tesla Motors), and understanding the particulars of that field will allow for quality personal investment choices. However, if one chooses not to invest much time in research an Index Fund allows an investor to financially support the industry as a whole.
Sustainability has rooted itself into many facets of culture, particularly U.S. culture. This field started out like many movements in response to an issue or problem – in this case, conscience comprehension of the human devastation of the natural environment in the mid 1960s. Half a century later not only do we not need to explain what sustainability is; we’re amassing profits off the value behind this term. It’s not just the companies that build or develop the technologies, it’s the citizens that encourage the companies to build or develop, and help finance these companies, all helping to make sustainability a tangible force of the world around us everyday. Sustainable has become profitable.