Businesses are going green – and making profits

There’s no two ways about it – businesses have always been in the rat race for profits. Any good they might do will always concern profits. Businesses eat profits, sleep profits and wake up the next day for more and more of that pretty green.

But now they’re turning to a pretty green of a different sort – green energy.
Over the past decade major enterprises have invested millions in becoming environmentally friendly.

Huge companies like DuPont, Asda, B&Q, Tesco and many more have set up various eco-programmes to cut carbon emissions from their respective businesses.

This might seem like a sudden lurch into altruism, but profit margins are still operating at the forefront of any business.

A very convenient profit
We’re living in a time after An Inconvenient Truth, when Naomi Klein’s books on the links between capitalism and carbon emissions are bestsellers. With our consciousness completely keyed into the environment, companies have to move with the times or risk losing customers.

Just look at British cosmetics retailer Lush. This is a company that has made sustainability and eco-friendly products its calling card – and it’s reaped the rewards.

In 2013, the green cosmetics firm made a group turnover of nearly £363 million, up 11 per cent from takings in 2012.

Mark Constantine, founder of Lush, said, “I like the situation we’re in. I like making a profit. For most green businesses, they are capitalists, and I think that for environmentalists, we often get caught up with anarchy and the anti-capitalist movement and that is disingenuous and wrong.

“It’s OK to be a capitalist and it’s OK to be conscious of what that does and enhancing people’s lives at every level of that.”

Lush is just one of a growing number of examples of businesses enjoying the great PR that eco-friendliness brings.
Not every company wears its green credentials so readily on its sleeve. Some businesses settle for new gas connections, which will see their business receive a more easy flow of the fossil fuel, while others will recycle and little else.

Cleaning up America
The process has been slow but steady. Even in the US, in which pro-oil lobbies have set the rules of the environmental debate, the tides are changing.

According to a poll from the Gallup organisation, Americans favour a clean environment over economic growth and believe that global warming is a human error. However, the same poll found that only 24 per cent of people were worried about the issue, placing it low on the public policy spectrum.
Ultimately, public demand goes hand in hand with capitalist shifts. As the environment falls apart, the public demand for clean products is surely set to rise higher.