Even with the slowing economic climate, retailers have seen organics grow at a rate of nearly 18 percent this past year and industry experts are forecasting continued growth. Nearly 40 percent of consumers said they haven’t changed organic product purchasing habits because of the recession, according to a recent survey from market research firm Mintel. Only 3 percent have stopped buying organic products altogether. Small business owners too are realizing that stocking organic and natural products and using natural products in their businesses is important to their customers. With global warming, the increase in fuel costs and the food contamination issues, people are realizing they need to take action and the right action for their families, businesses, and for the environment is to go organic.
Today's green-minded individuals go far beyond eco-consumerism--the buying of organic baby wipes reusable shopping bags, and fair-trades organic coffee. More consumers and business owners believe that environmental awareness and activism isn't just a question of health, it's a moral and ethical issue as well. Beyond reducing costs, consumers are demanding greener practices from the companies they do business with. As well, it's only a matter of time before national environmental regulations pass in this country, forcing change from businesses to consumers.
According to a recent survey by The National Small Business Association (NSBA), over 70 percent of business owners surveyed said rising energy prices have had a negative effect on their business. Sure, you know that using fluorescent light bulbs will save you a few bucks over the regular bulbs, but did you know commercial building owners and tenants could save $17 billion annually by making simple lighting upgrades (NSBA)? Energy efficiency, environmental awareness and green manufacturing may sound like something for the hippies in Berkley, but small businesses are saving significant amounts of money by “greening-up" their business.
Whether your reason for becoming environmentally conscious and buying natural products is due to eco-friendly issues, to improve your families’ health and/or to save money -all are good reasons. Even better is when we demand the same eco-conscious buying from the businesses we buy from. If you have an established business but would like to be more environmentally friendly, look into process improvements, buying in bulk, and other new areas where you can make positive changes. Remember, every bit counts.
Written by: Therese Patterson
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