Climate change is one of, if not the biggest issues ravaging our planet today. Around the world, people are becoming more conscious of what they consume and how they spend their money. To build an eco-friendly world, new businesses are needed to support environmentally friendly infrastructure. For those who not only want to be their own boss but also want to help change the world for the better, starting a business that is eco-friendly can be the ultimate win-win scenario.
These business ideas aren’t just on the verge of exponential growth, they also are designed to fight climate change via green energy, meat reduction, and other methods of reducing the impact of climate change on our planet.
Organic farming might not be sexy, but it is an environmentally friendly business model. By using sustainable farming practices, you can build a business that provides food to the world, while also helping protect our planet.
Organic farmers in Europe must be certified by a controlling body in order to obtain organic status. This process includes converting previously conventional farming practices to organic. The length of this conversion is:
- 3 years for orchards of perennial soft, top and vine fruits
- 12 months for pig and poultry grazing
- 2 years for land ruminant grazing annual crops
Finding farmland can be one of the hardest parts of starting an organic farming business. There are many questions to ask about farmland you are pursuing, such as: how well does the soil drain, what is the soil type, is there a pond or well, is there good road frontage, and more. The price of farmland can be extremely varied in EU member states, with the Netherlands and Italy having the most expensive land.
When it comes to deciding what to grow on your farm, consider the profit potential of certain crops, as well as your climate and location. Crops like bamboo and lavender may command the most money, but it might not be wise to grow these crops in your local climate and soil.
These days it’s well-known that clothing and other goods are made of materials that do not last long, and are eventually discarded in the trash. It is estimated that the average consumer in the United States discards 81 pounds of clothing per year, adding 3.8 billion pounds of waste to landfills. Designers and manufacturers have been moving toward recyclable materials for their clothing to provide consumers with fashionable products that are also eco-friendly. Some companies, like Patagonia and H&M, are even making their clothing out of recycled plastic materials.
These days, textile companies can recycle almost any material you can think of. Just understand that the cost to produce these garments will likely be higher than their counterparts on the shelves, so be sure to account for all of your expenses when determining your business’s profit potential.
One way to make your brand stand out is to get a certification attesting to your recycling process. The Global Recycling Standard (GRS) is a third-party certification of recycled content and environmental practices, and is seen by many as the standard in the industry.
Car Charging Stations
With the world focused on climate change, more and more people are switching to electric cars, and this number is only growing. It is estimated that the global number of electric vehicles will grow to 125 million by 2030, and by 2026, the market for charging stations is expected to reach $3.4 billion. Britain alone is working toward eliminating fuel-burning cars as it attempts to reach zero-emissions by 2050.
While North America dominates the market for electric vehicle charging stations, there is an opportunity for those in Europe to jump in before the local markets catch wind. This is especially poignant as European countries are working toward banning fossil fuels by 2025.
There are various estimates on how much it costs to charge an electric vehicle, with some costs dependent on the make and model of the car as well as local electricity prices. As a general rule, the cost to charge is:
Size of battery (kWh) x Electricity cost of the supplier = Cost to charge an electric car
As the electricity supplier, your job is to determine how much to charge for electricity use. To add even more variables to the mix, there are several ways to charge customers for recharging their vehicles, such as by the kilowatt-hour, monthly or annual subscription, or by time spent charging. One example is in England, where it usually costs about £6.50 for a 100-mile charge at a rapid charging station.
Similarly to electric vehicles, solar energy has been developed over the past decade to combat fossil fuel usage. As a result, solar panels are now becoming more ubiquitous throughout the world. There are many arguments to solar panel usage. They are relatively cheap compared to other forms of clean energy, and outside of their initial installation don’t require significant maintenance or upkeep.
Solar panels are becoming more widely used not only for homes, but for offices as well. This technology is suitable in any number of settings, as it’s estimated that 25% of all roofs are suitable for solar panels.
There are a variety of ways to make money from solar panels, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. You could be an installer and distributor of solar panels, but this may come with hefty set-up costs and require you to shell out money for employees. On the other hand, you could get certified to repair solar panels and begin your business that way. A maintenance and repair business would likely be cheaper to start, but would require you to take the time to gain extensive knowledge on these products.
The franchise model has also become popular in this industry. There are a variety of franchises to choose from that give you an immediate boost to launch your solar panel business. The parent company often takes a percentage of your revenue in exchange for helping to train and support your business. Those that are brand new to the solar industry would likely be best to start here.
Scientists agree that meat consumption is one of the biggest issues effecting climate change today. Emissions from the production of meat creates generates as much greenhouse gasses as cars, trucks, and airplanes. This is why, by all accounts, veganism and “flexitarianism” (those who regularly substitute other foods for meat) are on the rise. Interest in alternative meat by consumers has steadily grown over the past five years and skyrocketed in 2019.
For this reason, there is already a push toward meat alternatives and substitutes to mimic the taste and feel of meat without using any animal product. Some of these alternatives are produced in a lab using a variety of ingredients, while others work with raw materials such as shiitake mushrooms and beans to provide a better meat alternative. Companies like Beyond Burger and Boca Burger are already taking the market by storm. In fact, Beyond Burger has already garnered a valuation of over $7 billion, while Impossible Foods valuation is estimated to be near $5 billion.
It’s clear the profits are there for the taking, just as long as you can create a great, new meat alternative product. Think about the flavors you think the public will want: teriyaki, barbecue, sweet and sour, etc. Then, test out a variety of different raw materials and ingredients to help get your product to have a taste and feel similar to meat. This is extremely difficult and will likely take many rounds of trial and error before you get the feel just right. But if you do, you could be looking at an extremely lucrative business.
Business Doesn’t Have to be Evil
Not all business is evil. You can start a business that not only provides security and comfort for you and your family, but also works to save the environment at the same time. These businesses aren’t just nice and idealistic ideas, they are centered around growing industries that are ripe for the picking. If you take the time to learn about one of these businesses you could have a money-making socially positive business on your hands for the rest of your life.