39 Green Business Ideas for Sustainable Startups - NerdWallet (2023)

An eco-friendly business, or "green business" is one that demonstrates a commitment to an environmentally sustainable future. Green businesses strive to have a positive impact on the environment and their community. This can be achieved through many practices and strategies, from recycling to sourcing local products to promoting energy efficiency.

Sustainable and green business ideas combine your commitment to the environment with your goal of starting a business. Beyond that, they also deliver on revenue and profit. A study by Nielsen revealed that 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. If you want to launch a green business, get started with this article containing our top sustainable and green business ideas.

39 green business ideas

Here are 39 sustainable business ideas for you to consider if you want to go green.

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39 Green Business Ideas for Sustainable Startups - NerdWallet (1)

1. Energy auditing and green consulting

Work with businesses or individuals to help them implement strategies to reduce their carbon footprint.

2. Garden planning

Landscape eco-friendly, sustainable gardens for families and businesses to feed themselves.

3. Environmental law

Provide legal services to protect the environment or hold entities accountable for violating environmental laws.

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4. Composting business

Provide a service to pick up compost or a place to drop it off.

5. Green cleaning

Use eco-friendly products to clean homes and businesses.

6. Air duct cleaning

Dust and dirt can easily accumulate in air ducts, preventing the air conditioning system from working properly and thereby increasing energy consumption. Start an eco-friendly small business that serves to regularly clean air ducts to reduce energy consumption.

7. Fundraiser or grant writer

Many environmental organizations could use help getting funding. Start a career as a freelance grant writer to help them out.

8. Eco-friendly food supplier

Deliver food from local sources to people or businesses who need them. Farm-to-table restaurants are some of the businesses that you could help supply.

9. Eco restaurants

Open a restaurant that uses only locally sourced food and sustainable products and processes.

10. Organic nutritionist

This is a powerful sustainable business idea. Help people eat clean — it’s better for their health and our earth.

11. Wind power development

Build wind farms that produce sustainable energy.

12. Geothermal developer

Buildpower plants that use steam produced from reservoirs of hot water found a couple of miles or more below the Earth's surface.

13. Solar panel manufacturer

Produce the energy-saving panels for homes and businesses.

14. Plant delivery service

Start an eco-friendly small business that sources and delivers plants to people or businesses that will help clean the air around them.

15. Open a used bookstore

Recycle old and gently books for a fraction of the price. You could do this either online or in-person with a brick-and-mortar location.

16. Green gift shop

As mentioned earlier, green products are a selling point. Why not open a store full of them?

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17. Sell bicycles

One way to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce the number of people driving cars. One way to do that is by encouraging more people to ride bicycles.

18. Sell scooters

While scooters do emit carbon dioxide, they are much more energy-efficient than cars.

19. Energy-efficient car sales

Of course, people still want to drive cars. Why not sell more environmentally friendly car options?

20. Open a consignment or thrift store

How many clothes do you get rid of each year? Recycling old clothes is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of each clothing item so they don’t go to waste.

21. Manufacture or sell eco-friendly fashion design

Many designers are making clothing from sustainable materials. You could be one of them, or you could sell them.

22. Environmental blog

Publish information and news about climate change and subjects of interest to the environment. Reap advertising payouts from your visitors while informing the public.

23. Advertising agency specializing in green business

With all the new green businesses and initiatives forming, they’re going to need someone to know how to bring all the good they're doing to a large audience, you could start a green business advertising agency.

24. Give bicycle tours

This is a great sustainable business idea for bicycle enthusiasts! Bike tours in your city are way more environmentally friendly than big ole bus tours or long joy rides.

25. Eco-travel planner

Plan eco-friendly travel destinations and activities for tourists.

26. Sustainable events planner

Offer event planning services that guarantee a reduced carbon footprint from the event.

27. Open an organic spa

Harsh chemicals are bad for your skin just as they are for the environment.

28. Recycled furniture and home goods

Use recycled materials to build furniture and home goods people use in their everyday lives. Or open an antique shop reselling older furniture or refurbishing it and reselling it.

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29. Eco-friendly kids toys

A great eco-friendly small business idea for parents. Mainstream children’s toys use a ton of unsustainable materials. Why not give parents an environmentally conscious option for their kids.

30. Handmade clothing

If you've got a knack for sewing you can sell your handmade clothing online. A bonus if it’s from recycled materials.

31. Green remodeling

Green remodeling is the perfect green business idea for the handy entrepreneur. Take a worn down home and make it something new using sustainable materials and updated appliances that reduce carbon footprints.

32. Green architecture

Design new homes using sustainable methods.

33. Solar panel installation

Install solar panels for sustainable energy in homes or businesses.

34. Start a cooperative

Communal living easily reduces the carbon footprints of those living in them because everything is shared and the values of the building uphold sustainability.

35. Green venture capitalist

Invest in helping other people get their green business ideas off the ground.

36. Green financial planning

Sell “green bonds” to those looking to add environmentally conscious businesses to their portfolio.

37. Software

Build software programs made specifically to help businesses or individuals with environmental activities and initiatives.

38. Apps

Develop mobile apps designed to help people with environmentally friendly functions, like finding recycling centers or learning about the environmental practices of different brands.

39. Refurbish/recycle tech

Take people’s old and unused technology and recycle the parts or make something new.

Hopefully, these green business ideas have you excited about the possibilities — not only for profit but the pleasure of running a business that helps people lead greener lives and combining what you do with what you believe in. A value-led company is attractive to consumers — why not create one?

Benefits of starting a sustainable business

Green and sustainable business ideas deliver more than profits. Beyond the feel-good impact that comes with making the world a better place, environmentally conscious and green businesses cater to a rapidly growing market.

“Despite the fact that millennials are coming of age in one of the most difficult economic climates in the past 100 years,” according to a recent Nielsenglobal online study, “They continue to be most willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings — almost three-out-of-four respondents in the latest findings.”

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Generation Z does not want to be left behind either: The rise in the percentage of respondents ages 15 to 20 who are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact hovered around 72%.

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Businesses that establish sustainable or green values or practices have an opportunity to grow market share and build loyalty among consumers now and in the future.

Now is the time to pursue your sustainable business idea

There's never been a better time to launch a green or sustainable small business. We’ve undoubtedly seen a ton of change in the last year toward climate solutions and policy, especially as the implications of the Paris Agreement reverberated through businesses, industries, and investors.

“Companies continued to ratchet up their commitments and achievements on renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable supply chains, water and land stewardship, the circular economy, and other aspects of a sustainable enterprise,” according to GreenBiz. “Technology continued its inexorable march, accelerating sustainability solutions in energy, buildings, transportation, food, and just about everywhere else.”

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However, global indicators continue to trend in troubling directions. Concentrations of carbon dioxide are unprecedented compared with the past 800,000 years according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, even after accounting for natural fluctuations. Global temperatures continue to rise, and other metrics — on coastal flooding, heat-related deaths, wildfires, polar sea ice, biodiversity, and more — are just as harrowing.

Suffice it to say that we have a major challenge on our hands. Of course, no one is going to solve climate change on their own. But if you’re looking for green business ideas you can do your part and start an environmentally conscious business.


What is green and sustainable business? ›

A sustainable business, or a green business, is an enterprise that has minimal negative impact or potentially a positive effect on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy—a business that strives to meet the triple bottom line.

What is the most profitable business to start in 2022? ›

What's the Most Profitable Business to Start in 2022?
  1. 22 Profitable Businesses to Start in 2022. ...
  2. Ecommerce Business. ...
  3. Dropshipping Business. ...
  4. Vacation or Home Rental. ...
  5. Online Courses. ...
  6. Bookkeeping or Accounting Services. ...
  7. Graphic Design Business. ...
  8. Digital Agency.
15 Aug 2022

What are examples of green entrepreneurship? ›

Here's what we cover:
  • Upcycling.
  • Refurbishing or recycling tech.
  • Green cleaning.
  • Apps.
  • Reusable food and drink storage and cutlery.
  • Zero-waste grocery delivery.
  • Ink cartridge refill business.
  • Sustainable construction.
9 Sept 2021

How do I start a green business? ›

Businesses can become greener by imposing these basic sustainable practices:
  1. Go paperless. ...
  2. Create recycling centers. ...
  3. Decorate with live plants. ...
  4. Use eco-friendly cleaning products. ...
  5. Purchase and maintain sustainable office supplies. ...
  6. Establish sustainability protocols for electronics. ...
  7. Turn out the lights.
23 Sept 2022

What are five different green business practices? ›

Summary of Sustainable Business Practices
  • Switch All Lighting to LEDs.
  • Implement a Comprehensive Recycling Program.
  • Use No-VOC Interior Paints.
  • Allow Flexible Work-From-Home Options.
  • Eliminate Paper Use.
  • Strive for Zero Waste Break Rooms.
  • Install Water-Saving Fixtures.
  • Consider Renewable Energy.
5 Oct 2021

What is the hottest business to start? ›

Here is the list f selected hot business opportunities with good profit potential:
  • Start a Blog. You can choose to start a blog of your own on a niche topic. ...
  • Web Designing. ...
  • Freelance Bookkeeping. ...
  • Graphic Designing Services. ...
  • Freelance Writing. ...
  • Online SEO Consultancy. ...
  • E-commerce Business. ...
  • Smartphone Repair Services.

What are some innovative business ideas? ›

66 Entrepreneurial Innovations
  • Awareness-Raising Business Networks. ...
  • Collaborative Community Spaces. ...
  • Artistic Collaboration Websites. ...
  • Entrepreneur-Building Organizations. ...
  • Life-Altering Web Series. ...
  • Choice-Less Car Rental Companies. ...
  • Micro-Lending Web Platforms. ...
  • Community-Bridging Organizations.

What are some unique business ideas? ›

8 unique business ideas to try in 2022
  • Become a personal shopper and promote your services on TikTok. ...
  • Launch your own novelty t-shirt brand. ...
  • Launch a podcast and build multiple income streams. ...
  • Offer virtual assistance to other businesses. ...
  • Start a gifts and flower delivery business.
16 May 2022

What is a green business model? ›

Green business models: The term covers new and more environmental friendly ways to conduct business. Normally a green business model involves one or more of the following elements: recycling of products and materials, sharing economy and substitution of unwanted or toxic substances.

What are the 4 ways to start a business? ›

4 Ways to Start a Business
  • Independently Sell for a Brand.
  • Freelance or Consult.
  • Franchise.
  • Start a Service Business in Your Community.
17 Jan 2022

What is a green product example? ›

Cost-effective products: Green products last longer than conventional products. Moreover, these products consume less energy and other resources thus reducing the bills of the users. For example, Solar speakers can last for 10 hours just by charging with solar energy.

What are green ideas? ›

Green Ideas is a consulting firm that provides a unique perspective on performance driven building design, construction and operations that is unparalleled in the industry.

What are 3 sustainability practices? ›

Sustainability has three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social. These three pillars are informally referred to as people, planet, and profits.

What are the top 2 green businesses? ›

Here are a few standout green companies that deserve accolades:
  1. IKEA. IKEA's invested in sustainability throughout its entire business operations, including things customers can readily see and things they can't. ...
  2. Unilever. ...
  3. Panasonic. ...
  4. Allergan. ...
  5. Seventh Generation. ...
  6. Patagonia. ...
  7. IBM. ...
  8. New Belgium Brewing.
1 Jun 2016

What are some examples of green initiatives? ›

9 Green Workplace Initiatives That Are Easy To Implement
  • Install and encourage the use of a recycling bin.
  • Only boil as much hot water as you need.
  • Switch off the lights or power when not in use.
  • Invest in eco friendly bean bag fill.
  • Introduce green challenges for employees.
  • Choose can instead of glass.
10 Jul 2019

What is green entrepreneurship? ›

Definition. Green entrepreneurship refers to a special subset of entrepreneurship that aims at creating and implementing solutions to environmental problems and to promote social change so that the environment is not harmed.

Which industry has most money? ›

Financial Services

The financial service industry has created the most number of millionaires since modern times, according to the Wealth Report. In the business of money, people make a lot of money. Behind the most successful ventures in the world are people and organizations skilled in deploying and growing money.

What industries are making money right now? ›

The 10 Most Profitable Industries in the US
  • Commercial Banking in the US. ...
  • Life Insurance & Annuities in the US. ...
  • Portfolio Management in the US. ...
  • Trusts & Estates in the US. ...
  • Software Publishing in the US. ...
  • Property, Casualty and Direct Insurance in the US. ...
  • Private Equity, Hedge Funds & Investment Vehicles in the US.

What is the most demand business today? ›

Business ideas in business consulting
  • Financial consulting. The financial consulting industry is growing. ...
  • Marketing consulting. Marketing consulting is a wide-reaching area, which includes both traditional and digital marketing. ...
  • Business plan consulting.
1 Feb 2022

What business can make you rich? ›

  • Financial Services.
  • Eldercare.
  • Business Consultancy.
  • Investment Firm.
  • Education and Training Service.
  • Insurtech.
  • Cleaning Business.
  • Healthcare Consultancy.
11 May 2022

What are the businesses of the future? ›


What are the easiest companies to start? ›

16 Easy Businesses to Start
  • Pet Sitting. Hero Images / Getty Images. ...
  • Residential Cleaning Services. Paul Bradbury / Getty Images. ...
  • Delivery Services. PeopleImages / Getty Images. ...
  • Grass Cutting and Snow Removal Services. Kativ / Getty Images. ...
  • Scrapbooking. ...
  • Hauling Services. ...
  • EBay Selling. ...
  • Gutter and Siding Cleaning.
13 Dec 2019

What are the top 3 online businesses? ›

5 Most Profitable Online Businesses
  1. Training. People are quickly realizing that the things they learn in their universities have nothing to do with their life. ...
  2. Selling Digital Products. This is the next profitable business online. ...
  3. Blogging. I am a professional blogger. ...
  4. Freelance writing and other freelancing. ...
  5. Amazon FBA.

Which small scale business is profitable? ›

Some of the most profitable small business industries are real estate, food processing, clothes, chemical, and agrochemical. Apart from this household based customized products are also in high demand.

What is green business innovation? ›

Green Business Model Innovation is when a business changes parts of its business model and thereby captures economic value as well as reduces the ecological footprint in a life-cycle perspective.

How can a company go green? ›

What Can Companies Do to Go Green?
  1. Use Less Paper. Minimizing paper use is one idea for how companies can be more eco-friendly. ...
  2. Limit Vampire Power. ...
  3. Decorate With Plants Inside and Outside. ...
  4. Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs. ...
  5. Turn off the Lights. ...
  6. Recycle More. ...
  7. Donate Items. ...
  8. Cut Back on Single-Use Items.
26 May 2021

What is green strategy? ›

The focus of green growth strategies is ensuring that natural assets can deliver their full economic potential on a sustainable basis. That potential includes the provision of critical life support services – clean air and water, and the resilient biodiversity needed to support food production and human health.

What makes a business successful? ›

“One thing successful businesses have in common is … a strong customer focus,” said John Stevenson, marketing specialist at My GRE Exam Preparation. “They create a culture that is centered around their customers and focus their processes, products and services around their services needs.

What are good business names? ›

Sample business name ideas to inspire you
  • Spa Paragon.
  • GameDay Catering.
  • Exploration Kids.
  • Yoga Professor.
  • Darwin Travel.
  • Party Plex.
  • Pizza Factor.
  • Acorn Crafts.

How can I grow my business? ›

Although growing your small business will take time and energy, there are 10 strategies you can use to help accelerate business growth.
  1. Do Your Research. ...
  2. Build a Sales Funnel. ...
  3. Increase Customer Retention. ...
  4. Participate in Networking Events. ...
  5. Practice Corporate Social Responsibility. ...
  6. Form Strategic Partnerships.

What are the 5 R's of green marketing? ›

with the efficient use of natural resources. in the framework of five titles, namely Recycle, Reuse, Reduce, Re-design and Re-imagine.

What can I buy to be more sustainable? ›

Some eco-friendly ideas include: biodegradable cutlery, bamboo picnicware, reusable paper towel alternatives, silicone or stainless steel straws, waterless laundry detergent strips, countertop composters, and upcycled furniture.

What is green future? ›

The Green Future Index is a ranking of 76 countries and territories on their progress and commitment toward building a low carbon future. It measures the degree to which their economies are pivoting to clean energy, industry, agriculture, and society through innovation, policy, and investment in renewables.

What do you mean by sustainable business? ›

In business, sustainability refers to doing business without negatively impacting the environment, community, or society as a whole. Sustainability in business generally addresses two main categories: The effect business has on the environment. The effect business has on society.

What do you mean by green business? ›

A green industry business is one that uses sustainable materials to make its products. Green industry businesses aim to use as little water, energy and raw materials as possible while cutting carbon emissions, or it finds ways to utilize these materials in renewable and eco-friendly ways.

What are 3 benefits of green business? ›

Is going green good for business? Going green has several benefits for companies. It can cut costs, improve efficiency, and create healthier workplaces. Less tangible benefits include improving brand reputation and customer loyalty, as well as staff morale.

What is a sustainable business practice? ›

A business practice that is economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally friendly is usually regarded as being sustainable. Corporations that include socially responsible and environmentally sound policies as core elements in their growth strategy very often create sustainable economic values.

What are the 3 main principles of sustainability? ›

The principles of sustainability are the foundations of what this concept represents. Therefore, sustainability is made up of three pillars: the economy, society, and the environment. These principles are also informally used as profit, people and planet.

What is a good example of sustainability? ›

The foundations of environmental sustainability are: safeguarding water, saving energy, reducing waste, using recyclable packaging, limiting or eliminating the use of plastics, using sustainable transport, reusing paper and protecting flora and fauna.

What are some examples of sustainable practices? ›

Below are five sustainable practices that can become habits to make your lifestyle greener.
  • Reuse Paper and Plastic Bags for Shopping. ...
  • Opt for Paperless Documents. ...
  • Avoid Disposable Kitchen Items. ...
  • Use Eco-friendly Bathroom and Household Cleaning Products. ...
  • Recycle Old Sneakers.

What makes a business sustainable and profitable? ›

A properly sustainable business is one willing to adapt their business model to benefit a range of environmental and social ends, not just rest on their inherent strengths. It is easy for sustainability strategies to influence a business's costs.

How do you sell eco-friendly products? ›

How to Market your Eco-friendly Business
  1. Give It All or Do Not Give at All. ...
  2. Let Yourself Be an Example. ...
  3. Use Sustainable Products. ...
  4. Recycle. ...
  5. Educate Your Staff. ...
  6. Invest in Digital Marketing. ...
  7. Show your Support to Environmental Organizations. ...
  8. Make your Logo Green.
9 Jul 2020

What is a green product example? ›

Cost-effective products: Green products last longer than conventional products. Moreover, these products consume less energy and other resources thus reducing the bills of the users. For example, Solar speakers can last for 10 hours just by charging with solar energy.

Does sustainability increase profit? ›

Sustainability can boost profitability in many ways. The benefits include improved efficiency, a positive reputation and future-proofing against regulation. Take time to review your practices regularly and find the best ways to implement change.

What is green initiatives for businesses? ›

More than 1.2 billion jobs depend on a stable environment and ecosystems. The Green Initiative aims to scale up the ILO's knowledge, policy response and capacity to manage a just transition toward greener economies and a sustainable future.

What are the 5 key concepts that support sustainable practices? ›

5 Important Measures for Sustainable Development
  • (i) Technology:
  • (ii) Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Approach:
  • (iii) Promoting Environmental Education and Awareness:
  • (iv) Resource Utilization as Per Carrying Capacity:
  • (v) Improving Quality of Life Including Social, Cultural and Economic Dimensions:


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