Small businesses are 'going green': RBC survey
TORONTO, June 18, 2010 Half of Canadian
small business owners (52 per cent) currently have (46 per
cent) or are considering (six per cent) implementing a green
plan or environmental policies for their business, according
to an RBC small business survey.
Small businesses that already have a plan or policies in
place are more likely to concentrate on reducing energy (63
per cent), while those that are considering a green plan are
more likely to focus the plan on environmental standards (31
per cent) and supply reduction (55 per cent).
"These results tell us that small business owners are
making environmental sustainability a priority," said
Mike Michell, national director, Small Business, RBC. "Implementing
an environmental plan can have a positive effect on a company's
bottom line by potentially reducing overall costs in the long
term, and may increase their market advantage by appealing
to environmentally-conscious consumers."
According to the survey, spending on existing environmental
initiatives is low - 59 per cent of businesses with a green
plan say that they have spent less than $500 on green initiatives
in the past two years. However, as a business grows its revenue,
the amount spent increases.
"Some small business owners think they have to spend
a lot of money to implement these strategies, but that's not
the case: you can start by taking small steps and then build
from there," added Michell.
Directing funds toward green strategies can help some businesses
capitalize on the green movement as a business opportunity.
These changes can also have a direct impact on the development
of environmental sustainability solutions that shape the emerging
"Going green helps companies build goodwill with customers,
employees, shareholders and the general public," said
Jim Hart, national manager, Green Client Strategy, Business
Financial Services, RBC. "We understand that taking the
first step toward sustainability can be overwhelming for some
businesses owners; but it's a step worth taking. The key is
committing to act - and then beginning the journey."
To help small business clients develop and implement environmental
sustainability practices, RBC created Greening your business:
A guide to getting started which offers practical advice
on creating the business case for going green, engaging stakeholders
and creating a green plan. This and other helpful materials
can be found online at the RBC advice centre: www.rbc.com/business-advice.
Regional poll highlights
- Small business owners in Alberta that have a green
plan or are considering a plan are more likely than business
owners in other regions to include recycling as part of
their going green strategy (94 per cent), but less likely
to say any plans involve or will involve pollution prevention
(15 per cent).
- Small business owners in Atlantic Canada are more
likely to incorporate environmental standards for goods
and services purchased by the company (38 per cent) and
are also more likely to include energy reduction strategies
(75 per cent).
- Small business owners in British Columbia rank
highly, much like owners in other provinces, in their commitment
to recycling (82 per cent) and reducing their energy use
(60 per cent).
- Small business owners in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
are more likely to include pollution prevention practices
(36 per cent) in their going green strategy.
- Ontario's small business owners are more likely
to produce and sell, or to plan to produce and sell, green
products and services (26 per cent)).
- Small business owners in Quebec are most likely
(36 per cent) to reduce or plan to reduce water use or water
In an effort to help Canadian small business owners succeed,
RBC recently launched a new online advice centre. The site
provides free, professional advice and answers to common questions
business owners have. It covers many facets of running a business,
and includes interactive tools, calculators, videos, articles
and tips. Visit www.rbcadvicecentre.com
for more information.
These are some of the findings of RBC's Small Business poll
conducted by Ipsos Reid between February 2 - 8, 2010. The
survey tracks Canadian small business owners' attitudes and
behaviours regarding environmental plans and strategies. It
is based on online interviews with a random sample of 1,049
Canadian small business owners. All businesses had fewer than
five employees, and annual revenues under $1 million. A survey
with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100
per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error
of ±3.0 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what
the results would have been had the entire population of small
business owners in Canada been polled. All sample surveys
and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including,
but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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Janet Gibson Eichner,