What are the benefits of “going green” for a small business?

Sustainability graphic on Performance.gov

A Johannesburg home owner has saved electricity through use of LED (light-emitting diode) globes, a variable-speed pump for the pool, a solar geyser and a closed wood stove. The home owner won an award for saving electricity.

The other day I heard an ad on a radio station for a plumbing service that offers water efficiency, solar geysers and help for home owners to harvest rainwater and cut back on wasteful water practices.

As costs of electricity and water rise consumers are increasingly under pressure to use less especially when their salary increases are minimal or non-existent. More home owners and businesses are “going green” not as a fashion statement but for real monetary savings.

What exactly is “going green”? What is “sustainability”? Why do these terms matter? Continue reading “What are the benefits of “going green” for a small business?”

Selling eco-friendly without being accused of green washing requires grounding promises with performance

Sound and Sensible Organic Certification
Organic Certification (Photo credit: USDAgov)

At a Saturday food market in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, I approached an organic farmer and asked him how I would know whether his products were “organic”. After several assurances that were just empty promises, the farmer said with a smile, “You’ll need to look into my eyes and just trust me.”

A well-known brand of rolled oats is labelled “bio-friendly” and “GMO Free” but when you look at the packaging there is no proof or certification for these claims. Continue reading “Selling eco-friendly without being accused of green washing requires grounding promises with performance”

Sustainability – a must-have or simply an add-on for start-ups?

When a partner and me launched a start-up in the grocery trade a few years back most of our initial time was spent planning – thinking about things like setting up a small distribution centre, identifying larger customers, working out whether our range was big enough and doing sums to see that our sales would be profitable.

As soon as we got going, all our time was spent rushing out to customers from early in the morning until late in the evening, selling and distributing our products. We had almost no time to think about our strategy, financial objectives and marketing.

If you have been involved in setting up a start-up business, then you will know that a new business venture is a complex process which involves spending a lot of time on planning and preparation. Once you get started, your time is eaten up by serving customers, checking your expenses, cash flow and re-ordering. Continue reading “Sustainability – a must-have or simply an add-on for start-ups?”