Small Businesses Urged to Tap Into Growing Green Market
Small businesses have been urged to start developing green products and services to take advantage of the growing low-carbon market, following the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) Climate Change Summit.
The CBI has estimated that the global market for green products and services will be worth £4 trillion by 2015.
“Climate change was once a niche topic in the boardroom, but it will soon be central to everything that people do. Green products will be the main economic driver,”
said CBI spokesman Alastair Harper.
“Businesses and consumers are starting to see the benefits they will get from tackling climate change, instead of just hearing about the risks that come from not doing anything.”
Harper said that firms with green business ideas should take advantage of initiatives such as the Green Investment Bank, a Government-backed fund for green businesses due to launch in 2012, to bring their innovations to market.
He added that small firms were already taking advantage of the opportunities an expanding green market offered.
“For example, Wrightbus, a family-owned business based in Northern Ireland, developed electric buses and is now a major global supplier. Other small firms have developed smart meters for major energy companies.”
Small-business owner and founder of The Little Kitchen Factory, Nigel Leeson, said that although the low-carbon sector is growing, progress is slow.
“The market for green products and services is definitely growing, but ultimately most customers are still more worried about costs. We are a green company — we use reusable material inside our products — and in a lot of cases the first question the customer asks is about the environmental impact, but in the end it comes down to their budget and the final valuation.”
Leeson added that it can be expensive for smaller firms to invest in the equipment they need to make their processes greener.
“Equipment such as biomass burners for heating replacements takes an initial capital investment, and for small firms it is hard to justify that expenditure as they want to see an initial return on investment. However, in some ways smaller firms are better placed to encourage staff to contribute towards a greener way of operating, as the smaller your team, the easier it is to manage it.”
“There should be more Government support and guidance for small firms wanting to tap into the green market, as there is so much that can be done.”