A Brilliantly Simple Green Business Idea


As a green business blogger on three sites, I hear about a lot of green business ideas. Today I heard about a near perfect one. Green Any Site. The idea is simple: Before you make a purchase online, you hit the “Green This!” button, and then make your purchase as usual, coupon codes and all. A portion of that sale will go to Green Any Site, 100% of which will be donated to a green nonprofit organization. End of story.
There is, of course, more. And Green Any Site does a great job explaining it, complete with rollover text popping up on the FAQs on the front page, getting all the big questions answered quickly, without fuss.
Basically, merchants have what they call affiliate programs – you send me business, I send you a percentage for having done so. Miro, an arts non profit, has done this, with purchases on Amazon. Green Any Site, as the name says, does (or will soon) with any shopping site. They’re working within an existing system that merchants are familiar with, so no need to convince sites to “go green.” They just get the green, and give some to Green My Site.
So how does Green Any Site make money, since they give 100% of affiliate money away, in an auditable trail?

As Tal Ater, the founder of it explained to me:

Our business model is based on ethical advertising – suggesting greener alternatives to users based what they’re shopping for. For example, if you’re purchasing a book online, we may suggest you save another tree and show you where you can find the same book as an audio book or e-book. The same space may also be used for green tips which aren’t advertising sponsored such as suggesting how to recycle your old phone when you purchase a new one.

I have to say they’ve done a great job at making this a compelling offering, both on the site itself, and what they will be doing in the future: giving registered users a vote in which organization money will go to, plus offering a widget & Facebook app to show how much your purchases have earned green organizations. And, having tried it myself, the visual element of the screen getting greened before you purchase, though silly, is somehow satisfying.
By making the everyday act of making an online purchase, green or not, have a green impact, they’ve scored a win on all sides. Creating ease in making positive choices is a wise move.
Readers: What other ways do you see out there for making the making of green choices a simplified process? Share below please.
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. His overarching talent is “bottom lining” complex ideas, in a way that is understandable and accessible to a variety of audiences, internal and external to a company.

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing. || ==> For more, see GreenSmithConsulting.com