The greening of small businesses across the country is a movement all its own. While it may be easy to dismiss the impact of small companies when compared to the big guys, consider the following stats from a GreenBiz.com article published today: “Small Businesses (defined as firms with less than 500 employees) employ half of the private sector workforce and use half of the electricity and natural gas consumed by the commercial and industrial sectors. In 2006, small businesses accounted for 99.9 percent of the 26.8 million businesses in the country.” Imagine the impact small businesses can have by collectively adopting eco-efficient technology and sustainable business practices. But how does a company start on this track, considering that most small business owners can’t afford to hire a “Green CEO” or “Director of Sustainability Initiatives”?
Luckily, the green small-biz movement is comprised of several networks and organizations that provide resources tailored for this sector of the economy. Greenbiz.com has compiled a useful list of contacts to help your small biz move in this direction. Among the most prominent organizations mentioned include The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Co-Op America’s Green Business Network, and the Green Chamber of Commerce.
I would like to add a relative newcomer to this list that has a unique approach towards helping small businesses understand the nitty-gritty of becoming a sustainable organization. B Corporation (www.bcorporation.net) has developed a free online survey that business owners can use to assess how they currently rate on a green biz scale. The survey is comprehensive in scope. It looks not only at how a business fares from an environmental perspective, but also from a social perspective as well. Best of all, the survey includes links to a “best practices” section with useful information about how to implement various sustainability initiatives. It is written in a clear and concise manner to optimally help the concerned small biz owner with limited time and resources.
The green small-biz movement is one that may not receive many national headlines, but it is definitely growing in momentum. I look forward to watching its maturation over the next few years.