The Covid-19 pandemic has not only taken lives across the world, but has also forced numerous businesses to close down. According to the World Bank’s Global State of Small Business report, 26% of MSMEs globally were not operational in May 2020.
Although the pandemic-related global shutdown has resulted in an economic crisis, it has also changed how the world consumes energy. Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 5.8% globally, the largest percentage decline since the World War II and primary energy demand also decreased by 4% over the last year.
While the earth’s carbon footprint may have reduced, people still have the responsibility to make sure the environmental situation doesn’t worsen. One way to address the climate crisis is to support sustainable or green businesses in the neighborhood. Compared to the traditional business model, a sustainable business model is one that doesn’t capitalize on cheap resources and avoids the depletion of natural resources to maintain ecological balance. This is closely related to a circular business model, where a sustainable business creates a supply chain to recycle or recover resources used to produce a product.
5 Green Business Ideas for Startup Entrepreneurs
If you’re looking to start up a new venture, here are some green business ideas you can check out.
The cosmetics industry has grown over the last few years thanks in part to beauty influencers on various social media platforms. In 2019, the global market for cosmetics was priced at $380.2 billion and is estimated to grow to $463.5 billion by 2027. Meanwhile, the natural cosmetics segment accounted for $36.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to increase to about $54.5 billion by 2027. Besides women, there has been an increase in cosmetics usage among men who have also incorporated skincare into their daily routines, contributing to the industry’s growth.
Green cosmetics use natural ingredients produced from renewable sources, and besides using eco-friendly formulations, these products also use more sustainable packaging and production methods. Apart from having a lower environmental impact, green cosmetics are also less likely to cause allergic reactions and have a minimal long-term toxic impact on humans and the environment. Some ingredients you can look for when sourcing cosmetics are fatty acids like stearic acid, and oleic acid, castor oil, medium-chain triglyceride, coconut oil, and phenoxyethanol.
Sustainable foods and organic agriculture
Sustainable food options and organic agriculture go together and are built on ideas that promote ecological, economic, and social values. The current global food system makes up 60% of biodiversity loss, while sustainable agriculture can help address this issue by taking better care of the land.
Sustainable agriculture doesn’t have to be large-scale from the get-go; you can start by growing herbs in a pot, or by planting them in your kitchen garden. You can also support farmers by sourcing products directly from them, which not only reduces the steps in the food production chain, but also reduces the environmental footprint from the whole process and supports farmers’ livelihood as well.
Microgreens, also known as ‘vegetable confetti’ are a good example of food produce that you can start easily. These are seedlings of vegetables and herbs that are not only packed with nutrients but are also rich in flavor are usually used as garnishes, in salads, juices, and smoothies. These require very little space to grow, no fertilizer, and can even be grown hydroponically without soil. Besides consuming fewer resources than traditional farming, these usually grow in just a few weeks and produce yield year-round. With more space available, some other sustainable food options you can explore include beans, mussels, leafy greens, whole grains, and local fruits available in your area.
If you are a creative person, a handmade product business is one of the simplest green business ideas that can be done from home even with minimal capital. Besides having a unique personal touch, handmade products require very few resources as compared to machine-made products. Since each product is unique and produced in a limited number, the production and distribution of these products are more sustainable than chain-produced counterparts.
Some handmade goods you can consider producing and selling are beadwork and jewelry, handmade soaps, carved candles, sculptures, paintings, clothing accessories like hats and scarves, or even creating subscription boxes that contain an assortment of these handmade goods.
Housekeeping and cleaning products
Commercial cleaning products are usually full of chemicals that are not only toxic but contribute to environmental pollution and have longterm health effects on consumers as well. Research has shown that the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a drastic increase in the demand for cleaning products which is expected to continue. Some natural alternatives to commercially produced products are multipurpose cleaners made with water, vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda; air fresheners made with water, witch hazel, and essential oils; and a grease-cutting cleanser made with baking soda and water.
Zero waste products
Humans produce around 380 million tons of plastic every year, with reports saying that around 50% of this is made up of single-use plastics. Although some establishments offer reusable or compostable options for their products, another way to help lessen plastic use is to bring your own zero-waste products. From stainless steel straws, bamboo utensils, glass jars, and reusable water bottles, there are numerous options available as alternatives to plastic counterparts.
Besides offering sustainable products, other green business ideas that can lessen your environmental impact are making your startup carbon neutral, digitizing your supply chain and reducing paper needs, as well as using truly compostable labels and packaging for your products.
Author Bio: Katreena is a scientist and a life hack specialist who has authored various journals on biotechnology and molecular biology.