For a professional with the
right skill set in business, ecology, environmental studies,
sustainable construction, or science, becoming a Green Business
Consultant could be a rewarding move in many ways.

Going Green

My family and I recently returned from a trip to Southern California.
In our travels, I was pleasantly surprised by all the marketing
surrounding the green movement that seemed to dominate TV channels,
billboards, and radio broadcasts. We encountered widespread recycling
programs, waterless urinals,
alternative energy projects, and it seemed that every third car in the
carpool lane on the SoCal freeways was a Prius hybrid. (Where we live,
we are a rarity as Prius owners.)

Environmental responsibility is increasingly becoming an expected
behavior in California and in many areas of the country.

Businesses in California and across the nation are scrambling to clean
up their acts and to make certain that they are not left behind as
environmental stewardship is becoming important to their customers or
prospective customers. Other businesses are scrambling to make certain
that they don’t suffer the possibly disastrous fate of being held up in
the media as an environmental enemy.

Energy conservation efforts, water quality preservation, alternative
energy projects, employee carpool encouragement, community cleanups,
land reclamation, recycling, GreenStar energy compliance, xeriscaping,
the list of environmentally conscious movements and efforts by
businesses is significant and growing.

Even the quintessential
profit-at-any-cost-and-to-hell-with-the-environment company, Wal-Mart
is installing wind turbines and solar panels on a small handful of
their stores. More remarkably, the retail mega-giant now requires
sustainability statements from some of its suppliers. If Wal-Mart is
doing it, then I think it is safe to say that the environmental
movement has officially gone mainstream!

For smaller businesses who might want to increase their environmental
stewardship, or at least decrease their environmental footprint, the
process might be a bit more challenging than for a mega-corporation
with nearly limitless financial resources.

The average small business owner is not likely to be up on the ways to
save energy in his restaurant or how to decrease the water consumption
or chemical utilization in a small landscape operation. Most small
business owners also may not know how to fully take advantage of the
potential positive public relations related aspect of their green
efforts, nor are they likely to have the resources to hire a staff
member to take on these tasks.

Do you have a Green Solution
for Small Business?

If you have, or can develop the skills to make an industry greener,
there just might be an audience of business owners interested in
learning what you know. Green consultancy businesses are springing up
in many urban markets. While the demand for these professionals may
still be somewhat limited, growth seems probable.

For years, sustainable business practices have been widely associated
with greater expense and questionable return on investment. More
recently, managers and owners have found that green business is, in
fact, smart business. In fact, a study by the Center For American
Progress and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, found that
investment in greener technology greatly stimulates both business and
job growth.

Some possible areas of
consultancy specialization include:

  • Alternative Energy Utilization
  • Industrial Process Efficiency
  • Building Energy Efficiency
  • Recycling
  • Local Sourcing of Raw Materials
  • Waste Reduction
  • Sustainability Plan Development
  • Employee Health Program Development
  • Regulation Compliance
  • Strategic Planning In the Changing Economy
  • Media or Public Relations

As you can see, none of these topics are for the casual “dabbler,” but
if you have the right specialized knowledge, training and experience in
one or more of these (and probably many other related) topics, you
could find a bright future as a Green Business Consultant.

And you have the added benefit of knowing that you are helping
companies do the right thing!

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About The Author

Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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