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Many Business Owners May Not Have Enough Green to Go Green

April 20, 2009 (SmartPros) The majority of respondents in a recent Wells Fargo/Gallup poll continue to make environmental efforts, but many say the the economy has affected their plans.

Although the majority of business owners say they are doing at least “everything that can be justified by cost” to help the environment, many say the economy has made them change their plans to “go green.” According to the most recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, surveyed January 22 - February 2, one-third of small business owners said the country’s economic situation has affected their plans to become more environmentally friendly. Seventeen percent said their companies are doing “very little or nothing at all” to help the environment. A major factor may be the belief that customers are not willing to pay more for goods and services described as environmentally friendly, mentioned by nearly 70 percent of respondents (an increase of 37 percent from April 2007).

However, the recent survey did reveal that many business owners are actively involved in some “green” activities. Over the past 12 months, almost 90 percent of business owners surveyed participated in recycling, and more than three-quarters (77 percent) switched to more environmentally friendly products such as cleaning products, energy-saving light bulbs or recycled goods. Thirty-two percent said that over the past 12 months they used some type of alternative transportation such as walking, biking or public transportation, rather than a car, to save energy.

“‘Going green’ has been good for the environment, and even better for our bottom line,” said Marion Hook, owner of the Adobe Rose Inn, a bed and breakfast in Tucson, Arizona. “We know that the money we’ll save long-term by making even small changes, such as using cisterns, florescent light bulbs and solar tubes, will far outweigh the short-term costs. We also find that our guests appreciate our efforts, and happy guests lead to repeat customers. ‘Going green’ is a part of a long-term strategy, and it will help keep our business financially sound, now and in the future.”

“At Wells Fargo we recognize the importance of integrating environmental responsibility into business practices and procedures,” said Marc Bernstein, head of Wells Fargo’s Business Direct lending and Small Business Segment. “We know that the contributions of small business owners are a vital part of the overall success of the economy, and in much the same way, we know their contributions can make a real difference in the state of the environment.”


2009 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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