There has never been a better time to start your own eco-friendly business. Not only are people’s behaviours changing to reduce their environmental impact but governments around the world are planning for carbon neutrality as soon as possible.
This presents a real opportunity for entrepreneurs with green ambitions to get in on the ground floor and become established brands while markets begin to transform. But knowing there are gaps forming in the market is just the beginning, eco-friendly entrepreneurs must find and take advantage of them. We are looking at what makes a business eco-friendly and what are the best start-up ideas for 2023.
What is an eco-friendly business?
Entrepreneurs seeking to start their own eco-friendly or green businesses should aim to meet several environmentally-focused criteria.
These key targets are:
• Improved efficiency and low to zero energy consumption
• Reduced or zero waste and the use of sustainable materials
• Following all environmental laws and best practices
• Using green equipment and supply chains.
In the past, there has been a perception that operating in an environmentally sustainable way limits or restricts profits but with demand for cleaner supply chains growing, customers are looking for the companies to be more environmentally responsible
. Furthermore, environmentally friendly businesses can enjoy lower energy costs when operating with a green model, helping to greatly reduce their overheads.
Zero waste stores
The more conscientious we become about our impact, the more we are trying to reduce it. For example, single-use plastic bag numbers are down 97% in supermarkets since 2015
, showcasing how much appetite there is for a change to the way we consume. One great way to help people stop using single-use plastics, such as packaging for pasta and rice or the bottles that contain our soap and washing detergent, is to create a zero waste store.
While they are becoming more popular on our high streets, there is still a need to further reduce plastic consumption. Zero waste stores not only reduce plastic consumption but help people to lower their carbon footprint by stocking locally-sourced produce and products that have been transported by green means, such as bikes or electric vehicles.
Sustainable pet supplies
Thanks to the boom of new pet parents following the pandemic, pets in the UK now emit 1.3 million tonnes more CO2e than before COVID-19
. Research by the PDSA found that 27% of the UK’s population own a dog and 24% own a cat, and while there will be some crossover, it’s not unreasonable to think that at least one-third of the population has a pet. That is over 20 million people and a lot of potential customers looking to be more responsible about the way they look after their animals.
From eco-friendly dog poop bags that are 100% biodegradable to sustainable pet food that produces fewer carbon emissions, there are plenty of opportunities for businesses to make a difference. From stocking sustainable pet brands to creating your own, the UK is a nation of pet lovers and there is a huge market for green pet supplies to behold as we aim for net zero emissions by 2050.
Green trade skills
If you have trade skills then your services are going to be in high demand as we continue to adapt our infrastructure to allow for net zero emissions. Installing heat pumps, home insulation, solar panels, and electric vehicle charging stations are all critical for a cleaner environment. To help us cut heating bills, reduce pollution and remain on target for the government’s environmental targets, these instalments must pick up the pace.
Industry experts predict that a fresh pipeline of approximately 200,000 people will need training for green energy jobs
to keep the energy transition on track. If you have been thinking about breaking out on your own and starting a trade business, consider arming yourself with as many green installation skills as possible and helping the UK transform its infrastructure.
Sustainable consulting services
If you have already been an advocate of sustainability for a number of years, then your skills can help other businesses and industries make a smooth transition to becoming greener. You don’t have to create environmentally friendly products yourself but you can guide those who are willing to make positive changes in the right direction.
As green businesses begin to rise in popularity, there will be a need from those who perhaps don’t quite know the ins and outs of the requirements to convert their practices. Whether that be creating a less impactful supply chain, going paperless or helping a green startup through the early stages, your expertise will be in high demand and can make a measurable difference.
One of the ways we can help make a difference to climate change's effect on the planet is by altering our consumption behaviour. Landfills are overflowing and in a large part, this is due to a throwaway culture which we have been guilty of for generations.
However, if we take a circular approach to the products we buy
, when something has served its purpose then we should strive to find an alternative use for it. Known as upcycling, this is a procedure of taking an older product and modifying it into a new one. From furniture to clothes, many items can be repurposed and sold.
The great thing about starting an upcycling business is the low start-up costs, with resources available for free or for a nominal fee. Success for an upcycling business will lie in the way that you sell the products, whether that is through your own store or a stall that features across various markets around the country.
Starting your own green business
There is such a great opportunity for eco-friendly entrepreneurs to find gaps in the market, from local niches to national level requirements. Given the desire for change is growing across the UK, 2023 is a prime time to start your green business adventure.