Best Practices of Actual Businesses Using Green Initiatives to Grow Revenues

Book-Cover-Final-Oct-1-resized-3 By Bill Roth

As the Green Business Coach for the number one question I am asked is, “How do you make money going green?” Today’s business answer is that adopting sustainability practices is a high-results path for cutting costs. The “Green Team” is sustainability’s first killer app. And certifications like Energy Star and LEEDs are similar to how we used to talk about a PC’s RAM and processor times.

But for sustainability to grow into The Green Economic Revolution business needs to develop green-revenue killer apps that achieve the triple bottom line of job restoration, profitability and wellness (health for us and our environment). As recently as this spring at a major conference I heard speakers with inspiring clichés like “green is the new black” and the future of green is “cost less, mean more.” Here is the great news, my green-entrepreneur network has figured out the “secret sauce” for achieving these clichés.

Examples include a fast food restaurant that serves a wonderfully tasty but healthy sandwich and apple “fries” with a honey-yogurt dip for the same $6 one might spend at McDonald’s. And this healthy fast food restaurant is achieving year-over-year sales growth while three of their local competitors closed their doors due to the recession. Another example is an office supply company growing its market share into other states by winning blind price bids while also selling six times the industry percentage of recycled paper. And one of my favorites is a hotel that has a tremendous repeat customer business (the Holy Grail of revenues!) because its guests claim a better night’s sleep than in their homes. The hotel attributes this to its toxin-free environment.

The “secret sauce” common to all of the green-revenue successes within my network are:

Aligning value with values. This is the Crossing the Pricing Chasm strategy for achieving competitiveness against 20th century legacy business systems that are increasingly costing more, delivering less.
Prove it, Conclusively! All of the successful green businesses in my network have a marketing plan that “overwhelms” the customer with evidence that their product and company are the “real deal.”
Know it, Embrace it. This mantra of Web 2.0 is how customers are figuring out who to buy from and what to buy. Selling green is a process that enables the customer’s path of learning, experimenting and then buying.

One lament I hear over and over from start-up green businesses is that their customers won’t pay more for going green. Here’s what I tell these entrepreneurs: According to J.D. Powers and Associates, 75 percent of Prius buyers bought their car for economic, not environmental, reasons.

The next killer app for sustainability is price competitiveness. As a professional economist I inserted green price parity into my economic analysis and generated a stunning forecast of a $10 TRILLION global revenue sustainable economy by approximately 2017. I am seeing this green price competitiveness now emerging in all areas of our economy from sheet rock to solar to fast foods. Achieving the price-competitive killer app in sustainability is the key ingredient of The Secret Green Sauce™ that will provide us with restored employment, business profitability and a sustainable environment.

Bill Roth founded Earth 2017 as an enabling “how to” resource for businesses seeking to adopt sustainability as a growth strategy. The Secret Green Sauce™ is his just released book that profiles the best practices being used by actual companies to grow green revenues. Bill is offering a FREE 1st chapter at

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7 responses

  1. Right on the mark, Bill.

    There is a business case for sustainability- a STRONG business case. Your direction of thinking is where we need to be moving. Your analogy in Ch 1 of the micro chip is excellent. If I knew in the 1980’s where the world market for microprocessors would go; wouldn’t I have invested in companies on the front end of that boom?

    Thanks for sharing your first chapter and Go Gators!

    1. Thanks Dan for your comments. Today I talked with a strategy company that contributed toward the growth of a green product that has achieved 5+ times revenue growth since 2002. What I can’t understand is why more companies are not using these proven best practices to grow their business.

      Go Gators and pray for Tebow’s health!


  2. This is it,
    This is exactly the direction that the economy and the world market are going. People need to hear this message. The sooner the better.

    First chapter is excellent can’t wait to learn more.


  3. Great article but I would like to point out that the language of sustainability is very important. In your opening paragraph you have LEEDs. It’s an acronym for the U.S. Green Building Council’s green building program that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environnmetal Design. There is no “S”. It should also have a regsitration mark after it. The green stuff is way good but you still have to follow standard business practices.

  4. Bill,

    So glad to see your call for aligning value and values, and for making *economic* cases for going Green. I’ve been a strong advocate of both those positions for years. I discuss them in my award-winning sixth book Principled Profit — would be happy to comp you a PDF of the book. (Let me know at shel @ or Twitter @shelhorowitz)

  5. Its great to hear that the Green movement continues to gain momentum, that forecast really drives the point home.

    But I have to disagree with the prius comment! I looked carefully at buying one myself. At current gas prices with normal usage, it does not pay for the cost difference over a ten year life span of the car. In fact, gas prices would have to double (not impossible!) if it was going to pay itself back. But as the price of these cars continues to drop and the tax breaks for owning a hybrid continue to grow, I imagine the cross-over point cant be that far off!

    Thanks for the great read.



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