New Business Ideas: Eco-Friendliness

biodegradeable platesConsumers are aware of and want to show their support for the global environmental problems facing the world today. Witness the reactions to Al Gore’s climate change documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, and the worldwide concerts to combat climate change, Live Earth.

Responding to news of natural disasters and freak weather changes, some consumers are willing to pay a premium on products and services which produce the least damage to the environment. It’s no surprise that companies know how to take advantage of this trend:

  • Whitewater Village is a 38-cottage year-round eco-resort planned by Windmill Developments, one of Canada’s top green builders. The eco-resort features geothermal heating and cooling, as well as solar hot water and electricity. Interior features will include bamboo floors, wool carpets, formaldehyde-free kitchen cabinets and recycled-paper countertops. It even has a 4,000-acre land trust to prevent further development of its surrounding land areas!
  • Branch has a line of biodegradable plates, cups and utensils (pictured above) made of compostable sugar cane fiber (bagasse) that is a byproduct of the sugar refining process. Not only are they made from renewable resources, they’re microwavable, freezer safe, oil resistant, and capable of handling hot foods and beverages.
  • Even Levi’s is jumping on the bandwagon: the clothing company is introducing a pair of sustainable, eco-friendly jeans. The cotton is organic, the button on the waistband is made of coconut shell, there are no metal rivets, the dye is from natural compounds include indigo and the label is from recycled cardboard. Environmentally-aware and fashion-savvy consumers will love it.

Can you think of a new business idea that taps on this environmentally-friendly products and services trend?

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This New Business Ideas Report is compiled specially for Small Business Trends from the editors of


6 Reactions
  1. One of the best ideas that taps into the enviromentally-friendly products and services trend is involving the customer that educates them in an interesting way about how your company is becoming more environmental. This involves two very important processes that have to be in place anyways. One is having your staff buy-in to the idea of being environmentally friendly. The other is being willing to believe that your customers would actually be interested in the fact that your company is environmentally friendly. I found your examples above focusing only on the product side of this equation and that is why I specifically came up with a service oriented example. Becoming environmentally friendly is more about changing your thought processe that go into running your business than it is producing an eco-product although there is much thought that goes into that also. I hope this opens the discussion up a little so that all aspects of our society are looked at as venues for becoming more environmentally friendly. Thanks.

  2. I’m all for eco-friendliness and I absolutely love the paper products. Large companies such as McDonald’s stopped using styrofoam altogether due to it’s environmental unfriendliness. So this creation may really take off. And I’m icredibly curious about the new Levi jeans now – I have to see those!

  3. Those Levi jeans do sound interesting. I think it’s a great idea that many clothing companies will probably copy. The whitewater village also sounds great. I bet it is a really relaxing environment too.

  4. I think all of this eco-friendly stuff will really accelerate when simple economics is applied. Right now most of these type of products cost MORE than their non-eco friendly competitors.

    Once the eco-friendly folks switch the model and make eco-friendly LESS costly then consumers are rewarded for using the products, volume of purchases will rise delivering increased incremental profits.

    If producers want to drive up demand for these type of products maybe they could follow the software business model. Give it away or make it cheap in order to drive marketshare, buzz, word of mouth, mindshare and passionate users.

  5. Any company that serves the present trend towards downsizing would get my nod towards eco-friendly. The less is more movement has been in the spotlight for things like micro homes, but it would include any item that combined utility or was otherwise compact.